Teacher by Default – Profesora por Defecto

Teacher by Default

When I was growing up, I dreamt and I dreamt big. As far as I can remember, I’ve
always loved to travel, and as a child, when grown ups would ask me, what do you want to be when you grow up? My response was always a pilot. This profession meant that I would fly really cool planes, and I’d travel!

As an adult, I didn’t become a pilot. I became a teacher- that is, by

Why teacher by default? Webster’s Dictionary defines default as “a selection made usually automatically or without active consideration due to lack of a viable alternative.”  Somewhere between middle school and high school I stopped dreaming. College came around, and now my focus was on a career where I could make money and support myself.
Naturally, I did what a lot of people do.

I went to Long Beach State (in Southern California). At the time, I was studying Spanish and Italian, and I thought teaching would be a viable profession for me. Not to mention, I had the pressure of choosing a major, and I decided to continue studying Spanish. So, I chose Spanish as my major and becoming a high school Spanish teacher seemed like my ideal job. While my plan was to get my master’s degree in Spanish and teach high school, life had others plans for me as I became an elementary school teacher at the age of 23.

Nine years later…

Ms. Cárdenas in 1998 :)
Ms. Cárdenas in 1998 🙂

It is now 2007, and I’m in the middle of a divorce. Exhausted and burnt-out, I took time for myself from teaching. I’d thought it’d be only a year, and it turned to be about five years. During this break, I traveled; I
went to school in Spain; I’d go back to school for a master’s degree in linguistics; I substituted; and, I began to write my memoir. In other words, I nurtured my soul.

After five years, I once again had my own class. 

My students were now adults, and I taught English as a Second Language (ESL). It was a wonderful opportunity, and I loved it.

And after a few months with my adult students, I started teaching high school.

Teaching was the profession that I chose, and I have done it with all the love in the world. As a teacher, my intentions were to help others and to inspire them. This past May, I received the most endearing letters from two students, and this was all I ever wanted as a teacher. I am grateful for the opportunity, and the experiences that I’ve had in this profession.

I feel the time has come to take a different direction in my life.

My childhood dream was to be a pilot. Now, my dreams are taking that child-like quality again, and I couldn’t be more appreciative. What will manifest from these dreams of mine? I know for sure that it will involve helping others through speaking and writing. As always, thank you for reading.

What are your dreams? Are you following them? Do you have a profession by

Profesora por Defecto

Cuando era pequeña, soñaba y soñaba en grande. Siempre me ha encantado viajar y me acuerdo que cuando era niña me preguntaban, “¿qué quieres ser cuando seas grande? Siempre les contestaba que quería ser piloto. ¡Esto significaba que iba a volar aviones
padrísimos y viajaría, también!

No me convertí en un piloto. Estudié para ser maestra- por defecto.

¿Por qué profesora por defecto? Wikilengua define por defecto como “Dicho de seleccionar una opción: Automáticamente si no se elige otra.” No sé el momento preciso cuando paré de soñar, pero sucedio cuando estaba en la escuela secundaria o preparatoria.
Obviamente, hice lo que hace mucha gente.

Fui a la universidad y me enfoqué en escoger una carrera para ganar dinero y mantenerme. Estudié en California State University, Long Beach (Universidad Estatal de California, Long Beach) en el sur de California. En aquel tiempo, estudiaba español
e italiano y creía que el ser profesora sería una profesión viable para mi. Además,
tenía la presión de elegir que estudiar y decidí por seguir estudiando español. Pensé que mi trabajo ideal sería ser maestra de español. Mi plan era de dar clases en español en una preparatoria,pero el destino tenía otros planes para mi y me convertí en maestra
de escuela primaria a los 23 años.

Pasan nueve años.

La Profesora Cárdenas en 1998 :)
La Profesora Cárdenas en 1998 🙂

Ahora es 2007 y estoy por divorciarme. Cansada agotada de mi trabajo, decidí parar de trabajar por un tiempo y tomar un descanso.  Pensé que solamente iba a ser por un año, pero fueron 5 años. Durante este tiempo, viajé, estudié en España, hice mi maestría en lingüística, trabajé como profesor sustituto y empecé a escribir mi memoria. En otras palabras, alimenté mi alma.
Después de cinco años tuve mi propia clase de

Ahora mis alumnos no eran niños sino adultos. Di clases de Inglés como Segundo Idioma (ESL) y me

Solamente trabajé con adultos unos meses y luego empecé a dar clases en una preparatoria. 
Elegí la enseñanza como mi profesión y lo he hecho con todo el cariño del mundo. Como profesora, mis intenciones fueron de inspirar y ayudar a mis alumnos. En mayo, recibí dos cartas hermosas de ellos. Como profesora,  es todo lo que he querido. Estoy agradecida por la oportunidad y la experiencia que he tenido en esta profesión.

Siento que ya he llegado el momento de tomar otra dirección en mi

Mi sueño de niña era de ser pilota. Ahora, sueño de nuevo como niña y lo aprecio todo. ¿Qué se manifestará de mis sueños? Sé con certeza que va a involucrar a ayudar a los demás mediante el habla y la escritura.

Como siempre, gracias por leer.
¿Cuáles son tus sueños? ¿Los estás siguiendo? ¿Tienes
una profesión por defecto?




How To Be Happy With Any Decision You Make – Cómo Ser Feliz Con Cualquier Decisión Que Hagas

How To Be Happy With Any Decision You Make

Recently, I contemplated my decision to leave my job to pursue my writing passion. I thought endlessly about this and I even made myself physically sick as I started to get headaches. What was I going to do? I had to let my boss know by the last day of June. After going back and forth, I spoke to my sister and she suggested I do to do a pros and cons list. “Of course! Why hadn’t I thought of this earlier! Surely this would put everything into perspective,” I thought.

But, it didn’t. If anything, it made me become more anxious about making this decision.

Source: www.businessblogshub.com
Source: http://www.businessblogshub.com

Why did I have more angst than before? For one, the cons outweighed my pros. What was I going to do now? Then, there was the question- How would I make ends meet? I knew I could figure something out and generate expected and unexpected income. I had done this before.

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.” ~ Walt Whitman

Last Saturday, I made the decision to leave my job. I was determined to come back to Southern California and to start anew, and then eventually go back north. So, I left to Northern California this past Sunday with every intention to put my things in a storage unit and to move back to Los Angeles.

I cried from the moment I left my parent’s house. Why? You may ask. By making this decision, I would also be away from my boyfriend. He’s such a great and wonderful guy that this would be extremely hard for both of us, to say the least. Although I knew in my heart that we would be together again, I still thought about the time I wouldn’t be with him.

Basically, I made myself suffer by not staying the present and thinking about the future.  

About an hour into the drive, I thought to myself, “What are you doing, Liz? You’re not a negative person.” It hit me like a ton of bricks! I was being completely negative, and I wasn’t looking at the bright side of my job. As I drove on the 5, I started to mentally go over my pros and cons list.

A lightbulb went off and the idea occurred to me then. I would change my pros into cons.

One by one, I started to change my cons into pros. So I’m not getting paid what I’d like at the moment- the important thing is that I have a steady income, and I’m grateful for this.  Also, I feel that in many ways I’m done with teaching ever since I received these wonderful letters from my students telling me how I helped and inspired them. The bright side of this would be to continue to help my students and others, and to inspire them as well. It was something very simple to do, but it made a world of a difference. And the best part of all, I could continue to write!

Later on that day, I started to think of all those events that I turned into dilemnas because I had to make a decision. Something that came to mind right away was my divorce. Had I still been married if I would have looked at the bright side of things? 

I think it is very easy for us to look at negative side of things when we are faced with a difficult decision to make. Perhaps it’s time to be happy with any decision you make by turning your pros and cons.

Have you had to make a difficult decision lately? Did you turn your cons into pros? If you haven’t, could you use turn your pros into cons and be happy with your decision?

Cómo Ser Feliz Con Cualquier Decisión Que Hagas

Hace poco, contemplé dejar mi trabajo para realizar mi sueño de ser escritora. Pensé tanto de esto hasta que me puse mala y empecé a tener dolores de cabeza . ¿Qué iba a hacer? Le tenía que avisar al director de la escuela el ultimo día de junio. Después de pensarlo, hablé con mi hermana y me consejó hacer una lista de las ventajas y desventajas del trabajo. “Si! ¿Por qué no había hecho esto antes? Seguro que esto va a poner todo en perspectiva,” pensé.

Sin embargo, no fue así. En todo caso, me puse más ansiosa por tomar esta decisión.

Source: www.businessblogshub.com
Source: http://www.businessblogshub.com

¿Por qué tenía más angustía ahora que antes? Por un lado, las desventajas eran más que las ventajas. ¿Qué iba a hacer ahora? Después pensé- ¿Que iba a hacer para mantenerme? Sabía que podría encontrar otra trabajo- algo. Ya lo había hecho una vez.

“Manten tu cara hacia el sol- y las sombras caerán detrás de tí.” ~ Walt Whitman

El sábado pasado, hice la decisión de dejar mi trabajo. Estaba decidida de regresarme al sur de California, empezar de nuevo y después regresarme. Así que me fui al norte de California el domingo pasado con la intención de poner mis cosas en un almacenamiento y mudarme a Los Ángeles.

Lloré desde el momento que me fui. ¿Por qué? Te preguntas. Es porque al hacer esta decisión, iba a estar lejos de mi novio. Es una persona maravillosa y sería difícil para ambos. Aunque bien sabía que todavía estaríamos juntos, me puse a pensar del tiempo que no iba a estar a su lado.

Basicamente, me estaba haciendo sufrir al no vivir en el momento presente y al pensar en el futuro.

Alrededor de una hora desde que empecé a manejar, pensé “¿Qué estás haciendo, Liz? No eres una persona negativa.” ¡No pude creerlo! Tenía una actitud negativa hacia mi trabajo y no estaba mirando el otro lado del trabajo. Mientras conducía en el 5, empece a mentalmente repasar mi lista de ventajas y desventajas de mi trabajo.

Se me ocurrió una idea. Cambiaría mis desventajes a ventajes. 

Una por una, empecé a cambiar las desventajas a ventajas. Bueno, no me estarán pagando un sueldo que me encantaría, pero por lo menos, tengo un sueldo, y estoy agradecida por esto. Desde que recibí mis cartas de mis alumnos, me siento como que ya logré todo lo que quise hacer como maestra. El otro lado sería que al seguir trabajando como maestra puede seguir ayudando e inspirando a mis alumnos y a muchas otras personas. Fue algo sencillo de hacer pero hizo un mundo de diferencia. ¡Y la mejor parte sería que puede seguir escribiendo!

Ese mismo día empecé a pensar de todos aquellos problemas que se convirtieron en  dilemas porque tuve que hacer una decisión. Algo que se me vino a la mente fue mi divorcio. ¿Todavía estuviera casada si hubiera buscado el lado bueno de las cosas?

Creo que es muy fácil de ver el lado negativo de las cosas cunado tenemos que hacer una decision difícil. Quizás es tiempo de ser feliz con cualquier decisión que hagas y de cambiar las desventajas a ventajas.

¿Tienes que hacer una decision difícil? ¿Has pensado en convertir tus desventajes a ventajas? Si no es así, ¿podrías convertir tus desventajes a ventajas y ser feliz con tu decisión? 

A Return to Love – Healing After a Divorce

“I don’t know what it means to heal emotionally, but I am doing it.” This is a promise I made to myself. I would mend my broken heart. A second promise came right after. I would also not date while I was going through my divorce ordeal. And this why…

Divorce Statistics

When I was in a divorce support group, my counselor had told us (the members) that about 50% of first marriages end in divorce in the U.S. That percentage goes to about 68% in second marriages and it jumps to about 75% if you remarry for the third time. This got me thinking. Why is this happening?

One Possible Answer

The Beatles said it perfectly with their song, All You Need Is Love. While a divorce is an emotional death and the main circumstance surrounded it is the loss of love, then it follows that to become well we need to return to love.

Healing is a return to love.

I believe that the divorce statistics are on the higher end because people do not take the time to heal, and others find it quite difficult to forgive their partners. This was the most important step for me to begin to heal. The old adage is true- “a divorce can be messy”. Emotions are running high and thoughts of revenge cross your mind. I would know. It happened to me. Given these circumstances, it is perhaps why divorcees find comfort in the arms of another person (as I did before I was married) and this may also happen for various reasons.

Is this true healing?

Perhaps, for some it may be. For me, it was essential to “work” on myself. Who was Liz? I had lost myself in my marriage and I needed to reestablish my identity as a newly single person, and more importantly, to find myself.

At the very least, your world is turned upside down and what you once knew as “life” is no longer there.

From waking up with your husband every morning, to the morning goodbye kiss, to talking and texting throughout the day, to going to your favorite sushi restaurant, to the good night kiss. Therefore,a new relationship right after a separation could perhaps not be the best solution. In one of my counseling sessions, my counselor made it very clear to me. “Dating right after separation and into the divorce is like putting a band-aid on a very large physical wound,” she said.” “It just won’t do.”

Band-Aid Heart-1
credit: Abqjournalsage.com

In Confusion, You Find Clarity

I never understood the statement “In confusion, you find clarity.” That is, until the other day. In the midst of confusion, I felt empty and hopeless. All I could do was pray and ask God for help and guidance in my life.

Needless to say, I was a hot mess as a good friend of mine says.

Doing the emotional work and reflecting on this matter brought clarity into my life. As I look back, I began to understand why all this was happening to me and I was beginning to feel better.

The Last Word on Healing…

I liken the healing experience to the pruning of rose bushes. Just like we need to be “stripped” emotionally, mentally, and spiritually to get to healing, rosebushes need to be pruned for reasons like to maintain their shape and to give us new blooms. In a mysterious way, rosebushes heal too.

And remember, if you can heal physically, then you can heal emotionally too.

What are your experiences with healing? Have you healed from a divorce?

What’s the book about?


“What’s  the book about?” Of course, this is the follow-up question that I get asked when I tell others that I am writing a book.

The book that I am writing is a memoir that I started  back in May 2010. I went through a devastating divorce a few years ago that lead to the desire to heal emotionally. Inspired by the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, I pushed fear to the side and I did something similar to what she did. I sold my house, I quit my job, and I decided to go to Spain as a student in the fall of 2007. A much needed and well-deserved break was in order and I am very fortunate and grateful to have had this opportunity.

My life has been one continuous wave of change since then. Upon my return, I did not have a job and I substituted for a couple of years to make ends meet. Also, I decided to go back to school to get a Master’s in linguistics and a T.E.S.O.L. (Teaching English to Students of Other Languages) certificate because I had loved Spain so much that I wanted to go back and teach adults English. This plan didn’t come through as I had a change of heart when I finished school and decided to stay in L.A.. About a year and a half after completing school, I got the opportunity to teach ESL classes to adults in Northern California with a non-profit organization. A little afraid of this move, I pushed fear to the side again and I would be there 7 months. After this, I moved on to high school! It’s been interesting to say the least, but I am grateful to have had this opportunity. I don’t regret a single thing that I have done in my life and I would do it all over again. To say that I have learned a lot from my experiences is an understatement.

In the memoir, I write about these changes and many other events that have transformed me as a person.  I’m currently writing a book proposal for a chance to win a $10,000 advance and to have my book published with Hay House Publishing.

This is the premise of the book:

Our life purpose is to develop our spiritual selves, which entails being happy and peaceful. The purpose of this book is to tell my story: a story that begins with a divorce and goes from emotional healing to spiritual healing. As a result, an imminent spiritual awakening and spiritual transformation was in order, and I began to create my life as I envisioned and desired it  with every day miracles.

The memoir has ten chapters and these are  the titles of the chapters:

Chapter 1: In the beginning…

“A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.” ~Jane Austen

Chapter 2: Emotional Detachment

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” ~Winston Churchill

Chapter 3: On my own again… The Separation

“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Chapter 4: Nurturing my Spirit ~ A Well Deserved Break

“Fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in the mind.” ~Dale Carnegie

Chapter 5: More Changes: Going Back to School – August 2009

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.” ~ Joseph Campbell

Chapter 6: Back home and the ‘Bumps’ in the Road

“My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents, and I lay them both at His feet.” ~ Gandhi

Chapter 7:  A Happy Heart of My Own

“Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul.” ~ Democritus

Chapter 8: A Semester with Adults with Sprinkles of Kindness and Compassion

“Our main goal is to help others. If you cannot help them, then at least resist from hurting them.” ~Dalai Lama

Chapter 9: And a Dash of Gratitude and Patience – The High School Year

“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” ~ St. Francis

Chapter 10: Coming Into my Own

“Our Creator would never have made such lovely days, and have given us the deep hearts to enjoy them, above and beyond all thought, unless we were meant to be immortal.”

~Nathaniel Hawthorne

Have you ever thought about writing a book?  What is your book about? What are your ideas? Everyone has a story. What is yours?