Estefania Mondragon an Empath, Scientist, Artist, & Writer.
I had the pleasure of meeting Stefie when she visited Geneva, IL and came into the shop I work at, Crystal Life Technology. We hit it off! She had an amazing smile and wonderful energy, we became instagram friends and started emailing each other. I consider her a friend. As a feminist I love to share the stories of powerful and inspiring women, Stefie is one of those women. You can check out her blog at estefaniamondragon.com & Instagram: @mondrage
Q: Do you have a personal mantra?
A: I have had many, the first mantra I had four years ago was -I am safe, I am protected, I am loved, I am strong-. I would repeat it every morning and though out the day. I discovered then the power of mantras, things started to change; I felt stronger and safe and started to see all the abundance in my life.
The second one that I used for a while was – I am grateful for all the abundance in my life-. After repeating this mantra for a couple of weeks I started to see ton of little miracles and everything seemed to work serendipitously.
All through out 2014 and part of 2015 I repeated to myself – I let go of everything that no longer serves me-. Which was a miraculous mantra, I shed a lot of karmic layers and I let go of a lot of physical things.
Right now my 2016 mantra and my favorite as of yet is –I am not afraid, I was born to do this-. Which is a quote from Joan of Arc. I feel that it is going to bring a lot of adventures and wonderful changes to my life.
Q: What did you take away from the self-love challenge?
A: I took away a lot of things from the self-love challenge, one of them being how often we forget to love us and give back to ourselves. We do a lot and give a lot, daily, yet we deprive ourselves of pampering, love and gratitude. The worst part is that we don’t realize what a huge deal this is. Gandhi said –Be the change you wish to see in the world- . For me it starts with the SELF. How often are you loving towards yourself, how do you speak to yourself, how often you acknowledge yourself for all the hard work and all the energy that you put into making this world go around. So, for me, the self-love challenge was a daily reminder to connect with myself and be grateful for who I am and what I had done that day.
The self-love challenge helped me to see myself in the mirror and love myself the way I am. It was hard at first to stand naked and see myself from eyes to toes with no judgment with only gratitude and love. The first time was really hard, negative thoughts would surface and I would have to go around them or counter them with a loving thought. It felt easier by the fourth week. I think it is a practice that I will keep for as long as I live.
A big aha moment during the self-love challenge for me was on the relationship between exercise and me. For the past three years I have been refusing to exercise because I did not like the relationship I had with exercise, which I believe is the same relationship most people have with exercise. I am not saying I haven’t exercise at all, I have, I did yoga, walked and sometimes ran, but I was tired of exercising the way I did 5 years ago. Since I can remember until five years ago, I had no problem in going to the gym forcing my body to do something it did not feel like doing or working out mindlessly in front of a TV to burn the calories I had consume that day. However, five years ago something switch in me and I just felt that exercising that way, was abusive and I did not want to abuse myself any longer. Lets be honest, there is little self love in a gym, most people look miserable for being there, only a few people look like there are getting something good out of it. So I decided to not work out unless it was enjoyable and joyful. At that time I was spending most of my time trying to finish my dissertation research so my exercise time got reduced significantly.
Now this past December, during the self-love challenge with Sarah’s guidance and daily tasks, something switched again. I realized that movement (I don’t want to call it exercise any more) is part of self-love. Our bodies are meant to move and they take out a lot of enjoyment and joy out of movement; you can move in many different ways dancing, running, doing yoga, paying soccer, playing basketball, swimming, playing tennis, etc. Hence, I started to show up to my yoga mat everyday, as an act of self-love, as a way of saying thank you to my body for all it does for me everyday and I have to say that I started to enjoy movement more and felt happier. Yoga, hikes in the forest and dancing are the things that hit the spot right now and that I have found that are good ways to enjoy my body while moving.
Another thing that I took out of Eco-fit-yogi’s self-love challenge was to savor food and explore new recipes. One day I made a vegan banana- walnuts- and strawberry ice cream that only took 10 min and was healthy and delicious. I felt that my relationship with food improved.
Q: How do you balance your career, family, and time for yourself?
A: That is a hard one, I think it takes constant, every day work and planning. I think the best way is to figure out what are the things that nurture and making a morning routine, then go about your day go to your job, which I hope is something you love and empowers you, then go home and spend time with your family and to end the day I recommend having a –end of the day routine. Another crucial point to maintain balance is to be in the moment, so when you are doing your morning routine, be there enjoy what you are doing, be it meditating, doing yoga or drinking a cup of tea or coffee, be there and savor it, don’t get ahead on your day. When you are at work, enjoy your work, be there in front of your client or your computer or what ever it is that you do. When you are with your family, same, enjoy their presence, the smiles, the conversation, etc, and finally as you unwind for the day, be grateful for all the wonderful things that happened that day, even if it was a bad day, I am sure you can find at least 5 things that you are grateful for. I think this is the key of finding a balance in life, I am not expert, I am still learning and some days I struggle more than others, but I try to do this to have a healthy balanced life.
Q: Do you have any advice for women who want to find that balance?
A: I believe that having a mantra is key, it is a subtle thing but mighty powerful, I feel that one can move mountains with it.
I would then recommend experimenting and creating a morning and a night routine. They don’t have to be long, they can be from 5 to 30 min each, but I feel that you send a strong message to yourself and the Universe when you do these things religiously and you show up to them. (For example a good morning routine might be: wake up with your favorite song instead of a regular beeping alarm, say your mantra, stretch, meditate or do yoga, shower make delicious breakfast or juice. A good night routine might be: do something that you love (dance, write, paint, draw, make jewelry, knit) read a good book for 30 min, pray and meditate and go to bed). Reading to your kids and tucking them to bed can also be part of your night routine, just keep it constant.
I also feel that Gratitude is a key practice for happiness. Any woman who would like to be successful, have a balance life and manifest her dreams has to start from gratitude, it is like a launching platform.
Q: What are some of your goals for 2016?
A: For 2016 I have several intentions some of them are:
- -To express myself more creatively through my website, photography and other art mediums.
- -To be a better conduit of Spirit, channel more, meditate more, etc.
- -To move more in order to be healthier.
- -To be of service, to teach others weather is science, photography, meditation, etc
Q: With your busy schedule, did the EFY challenge assist you in finding ways to bring self-love into your day?
A: Yes very much, the EFY challenge had several tasks to perform through the day, some days when I had too much going on, I only did one or two of the tasks, but the point was to find that space within the day to check with yourself and to give self-love. Having the schedule handy or written down into my daily planner was a good reminder to taking sometime for myself. It really helped me. I try to continue this practice even when the EFY challenge finished.
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