Self Care Rituals

Hello world,

It’s been awhile since I’ve used this blog which is odd since I have been home the past 2 years of the pandemic. Consumed by the work of being a full time middle school English teacher during a pandemic, my writing took a backseat for a little while. Instead of writing, I took it upon myself to immerse myself in the world of roller skating and maybe used a little too much social media. For 2022, I’m trying to be more present with myself, reconnect with my writing practices, and establish community with others again.

The term “self care” is often associated with Himalayan salt and rose adorned bubble baths, facials, massages, and overindulgence. What I have come to learn “self care” means to me is none of these fancy, materialistic luxuries, but instead, finding a way to be present with myself and the world around me. Self care then becomes an act of self love, self acceptance, and forgiveness. Perhaps, taking the time to re-evaluate areas of my life where I could practice more restraint and patience. Below are a few of the ways that I practice self care in my daily life.

Saying no

I was a “yes” person for many years and I had no real understanding of what boundaries actually were or how they were practiced. In any job, with any relationship, and any person for that matter, I had a hard time just telling people “no.” As a result of my inability to say “no,” I experienced a spiritual and emotional fatigue that brought my mind, body, and spirit into a cavern of darkness. I work in a field where it is often expected for me to agree and say yes often in order to be a part of a team and to stand out.

Since when did burning yourself out become a badge of honor? I have come to learn that it isn’t and that I cannot be productive in any area of my life if I’m burnt out. As difficult as it may feel at times, sometimes the best option for me today is to say “no” and decline. Life is too rich and meaningful to be wasted on feeling duped or drained constantly. I’d rather retain the energy I have now to be able to luxuriate in the joys of life.

Affirmations

I was born a natural cynic with a mean girl as an inner critic. She loves to terrorize me, bring down my self worth, and make me feel inferior. Over the years, I’ve come to find my most powerful weapon to use against her would be positive affirmations. It was a few years ago when I first stumbled upon Louise Hay’s book, “You Can Heal Your Life.” I remember looking through the watercolor images of angels, inner children, and unicorns. I thought to myself, “well, isn’t this the corniest thing I’ve ever seen?”

I bought the book as a joke, thinking it would be of no use to me but I soon found that it was a first step in the direction of self love. I began to listen to her affirmations daily and I even bought a purple journal with a unicorn on it (big surprise). Each day that I would feel myself spiraling in my mind, I’d write affirmations in that small journal. I would write spiritual affirmations, “I am” statements, prayers, gratitude, anything I could to shift my mindset. After all, my inner critic was strong and resistant.

It was in Louise Hay’s book that I learned about mirror work. Mirror work is a type of morning practice where you look in the mirror and repeat a mantra or affirmation while looking directly into your own eyes. It’s a powerful practice in building confidence, self worth, and positive thought processes. I once heard Brene Brown say that we create false narratives in our childhood which develop into unhealthy patterns in adulthood. Thus, the self care came once I was able to begin unlearning those false narratives and replacing them with better narratives.

Gratitude Journal

Part of my daily morning routine is to write 5-10 things that I’m grateful for. I do this in addition to writing morning pages as a form of meditation. Some days I don’t feel grateful, or I wake up in not the best mood but when I write down those items that I’m grateful for, my mindset begins to shift. I once heard someone say the phrase “rose colored glasses” and I feel that gratitude allows me to wear those. Even if it feels uncomfortable at first, it will pay off over time. Give it a try for 30 days and see what happens.

Upcoming Writing Projects

Currently working on the following projects:

-a collection of vignettes on my journey to self acceptance, self love, and healthy relationships.
-a novella series about a shamanic healer who hunts supernatural villains.
-poetry (always writing poetry).
-hopefully, another zine that combines photography with haikus.
-random short stories I need to finish.

I hope to have some work to share with you all soon!

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Trick or Treat

Hey everyone!

I’m finally back and have some exciting news to share. I’m publishing two zines in the next month and vending at Tijuana Zine Fest this year. I’ll be publishing a poetry zine entitled Love Poems to Get You Through the Dating Apocalypse and a short story photo book, Desolate Spaces. I’m going to work on creating an online store to have it available to sell via my upcoming website.

Besides finishing final edits on these two zines, here is my other goal for June (and probably for July as well): to finish horror stories I started last year and compile them into an anthology. So far, my plan for this one is to completely draw and design the cover myself and also, to self-publish. The idea behind this project is to create something reminiscent of classic 90s horror geared toward young adults; for e.g., Scary Stories to Tell in the DarkGoosebumps, and, Are You Afraid of the Dark?.

I’ve been taking a couple workshops to improve my knowledge and writing skills. So, here is a snippet of a flash fiction piece I came up with in my Flash Fiction workshop through Flash Fiction Magazine:

Trick or Treat

When I was younger, my heart bubbled up with anticipation on October 31st, knowing that I would escape myself for one night. Clutching my plastic pumpkin pail, I’d jump with fright at the sight of ghoulish creatures and drool over the scents of miniature M&M’sTwixTootsie Rolls, and Snickers.

With Love & Light,

E.R. Buendia

Self Love Poem

I wrote this while pondering the subject of self-love, I decided to write a love poem to myself based on some experiences I’ve had the past 7 years, here is the results:

I Love Me

I walk through the forest called life as
Daisies blossom against obsidian skies
Feet bare,
and grounded into dirt.

A flame ablaze in the distance,
Heart becomes a reflection.

Darkness fades and lunar energy
Lights the path in front of me.

Do I trust the gods and walk forward?

Or, pivot my flesh to walk back into the night?

The glow brings my eyes to a stupor,

I am spellbound.


I am one with the night and
Dance with the deities.


I am ready for
the shaman’s blessing.


It is time to drift from fright
And fall into the universe’s embrace.


Great Spirit cradles me in a celestial blanket;
As the dusk arrives,
So does the love of the divine.


Another day, another opportunity
For a joyous stroll.

~E.R. Buendia

The Hummingbird Dance

A couple of months ago, I wrote this poem after feeling frustrated with my experiences on Tinder and OkCupid. Yes, I have tried online dating apps for years; much to my dismay, each time with negative consequences and it has taken me awhile to learn how to love and respect myself first…here’s a poem about one of my most recent online dating experiences, you can find it in the Bards Against Hunger poetry anthology on Amazon, link at the bottom of this post. Namaste!

The Hummingbird Dance by E.R. Buendia

Your summer kissed skin glows in the sunlight

As the faint breeze sweeps the sweat off your brow

Hummingbirds fly touching upon tangerine flowers

As though the nectar is a gift from the heavens

The flutter of the hummingbird’s wings

Sounds as sweet as an evening lullaby

On this perfect summer day, with harmony standing nearby
Waiting to send love darts to promising lovers

With your eyes closed, you imagine these darts beaming upon the birds

And fill your heart with hopes of an epic love story

Hope that was lost in the reckless abandon of heartbreak purgatory

Is this hummingbird a blessing?

Is it a sign of divine love?

Is this your soulmate?

Or, are you drifting into the

abyss of hopeless romanticism?

Tragedies of Keats,

of every Romantic poet,

who hoped the same

Is this a love doomed or

an epic love that would last for lifetimes?

So you hope for a happy ending this time.

Pray for an ideal to come to fruition,

And get drunk on the fragrance of infatuation.

Copyright of: E.R.Buendia

To purchase the anthology click here. All proceeds go to food banks across the nation, help us end homelessness and famine in our country 🙂

Heat Wave

Admittedly, I have been procrastinating on my outline/NaNoWriMo prep this year but I plan to spend some time this weekend and Monday and Tuesday finishing out the scene-by-scene parts of the outline. I plan on using OneNote to keep track of all of the chapters. It seems like the best program that I own for this novel writing project; as, I cannot pay for Scrivener at the moment. In San Diego, there has been a heat wave this week, so here’s a little poem/microfiction of how it makes me feel:

As the heat burns through my flesh
There’s no escape
My nostrils catch fire
As I continue to breathe in the flames
Hoping the flames will ignite my desires
But instead they leave me lethargic
Parched for water
Crawling on the pavement
Reaching out for help
No Escape. Just humidity.
Santa Ana winds hit my hometown
In a fury and leave me with swollen eyes
And sleepless nights
Drenched in sweat
Dreaming of dancing through autumn leaves
Relentlessly bemused by dry air
On this October night

~E.R. Buendia/Celena StarVela

Mabon Poem

The time is here for autumn. The air is getting crisper, leaves are changing colors and the equinox is here. Its time to embrace the darkness. Here’s a poem of light and dark, its connection to Mabon….

Mabon has arrived and with it

People feast on grains and vegetables alike

The darkness starts to rise from the Underworld

Light takes a slumber as dark skies reign

Feel the crisp air against your skin

Let the moon be your guide

It’s okay to become a part of the night 

Chants are heard throughout the land

Harvest arrives with plenty of food

For the bellies of creatures 

Hibernation around the corner

Persephone. Hades. Animal spirits.

They have come to reign.

Light burning a flame within

Divine light guides those lost back to  their lovely abodes 

-E.R. Buendia

Why I Write…


Why did I start writing and why do I write?While developing an 8 week lesson plan for a Creative Writing workshop that I’m starting at my work, I realized that there was a question that I haven’t answered on my blog and now is the time to answer it!

           My story starts when I was eight years old. I went to a Spanish immersion school that offered a lot of opportunity for creative expression; my creativity was encouraged from a young age. I am grateful that my parents put me in the schools they did so that I could connect with my inner artist and discover my talent. The first piece I wrote was a poem and it was part of a project that we were supposed to do in class to create a mother’s day card for our mothers. I wrote a poem about the colors that my mom wore, specifically her red lipstick, and my mom kept it after I gave it to her and still has it today!

           I always felt out of place with my peers and writing became an escape for me besides reading, it was therapeutic and it was a way for me to connect with my imagination. Some people had imaginative friends, I had my own imagination and creative pursuits. As I got older and continued to enjoy the creative projects that my teachers would assign us, my mom ended up creating a space in the garage where she would post all the art projects on this wall by where we kept our shoes. I cherish that memory as a muse for me to continue to create works of art whether it’s  writing, painting, photography, doodling, dancing, any form of expression.

           When middle school came and I had this inspiring Spanish language teacher, I continued to write. At this point, I was blogging and I had created different websites that I would use to post short stories, poetry, and, journal. Each morning during the week, we would be asked to free write for the first 10 minutes or so of class. And every Friday, my teacher would pick a winner for best writer of the class. I won on a consistent basis and I used this as motivation to continue writing.

           When I got to high school, I was diagnosed with depression at the age of sixteen years old and I started to see an art therapist for a little while. Once again, writing became a form of healing for me. In high school, I continued to keep a poetry journal and would sometimes write short stories. I had a LiveJournal that I would share my work on or I would just vent on there sometimes. In 11th grade, when my depression was getting worse, I decided to submit my poetry to a national contest and I won one of the prizes. I just needed a teacher to sign a recommendation for me but I never followed through. I no longer believed in my talent and my creative spirit started to fade away.

           In my junior year of high school, I wrote half of a romance novel but after my computer crashed and I lost the draft, I gave up on writing altogether and the next few years were filled with different experiences that are now inspiration for me to write. I have always used writing as a medium for healing and expression. At times when I felt like I did not have a voice, I found that voice through poetry or through the characters of the stories that I was telling. I always felt like I could relate to characters that faced oppression, discrimination, or, some kind of bullying. And as an avid reader, it has just added more fuel to my passion for writing.

           At a creative workshop I attended with Juliette Sobanet, she asked us to think about why we wanted to tell our story, the novels or stories we are working on. I guess the true reason is to inspire others and maybe they will be able to find strength with my characters as they read along. The message I want to convey in the novels I write is for young teenage girls all over, to not give up on yourself and to embrace your weirdness…it’s okay to be unique. It’s okay to be creative and pursue your artistic dreams. Everyone goes through some type of darkness, and although some stay, there are others who fight to reach the light. I write to help, heal, and, to inspire. 

Day 2-Story A Day in September

Prompt of the Day: The problem with going through life one day at a time, each in order…

The problem with going through life one day at a time, each in order is that a person can never skip from Monday to Friday. The stillness of Wednesday drags by minute by minute as dreadful as waiting for the desert heat to pass in the middle of July. Beads of sweat form on those restless individuals who have to endure the sun’s beating merciless power. As the clock continues to tick closer to the five o’clock hour, business folks stare at those final seconds at 4:59pm with the eagerness to leave their suits behind and change into their gym gear, or, take it all off and tune into Netflix. Although taking life each day at a time can be blissful and fulfilling, it can also be a real drag.

E.R. BUENDIA