Lady of the Month: Vanessa Santillana

Spring is in full bloom and April is a very special month. With that said, I would like to introduce our Lady of the Month: Vanessa Santillana. Not only she is a very dear friend of mine but also a wonderful person that dedicates her time helping others. Her story is very inspiring and am happy to have the opportunity to share it:

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For as long as I can remember I have always questioned myself about life’s meaning and why good or bad situations happen in our lives.  I was introduced to Buddhism and with time my interest grew more and more. This completely changed my life as I started living a life that is more fulfilling, as well as happier. With time, I started feeling a connection with mind, body, and spirit. I decided to work on each of them.  

For my body I started taking care of it more by being more conscious of what I eat, drink, and working out. This in time became my lifestyle. Eating healthy every day, working out; I could not imagine eating unhealthy foods or missing my workout. I also started practicing yoga and Pilates. I got a certification with Balance Body in Pilates and this helped me understand how the body works better and its anatomy. Yoga and Pilates also help me relax and personally I feel like for me they are the best workout.

For the mind, I have been spending a lot of time meditating. Currently I am working on obtaining my degree in Psychology. Meditating gives me peace and helps me keep focus on my daily life. 

Spiritually, through Buddhism I became more compassionate, courageous, wise and gained empathy for others as well as their situations.  My life changed completely when I was 17 years old and living in New York City for an internship. I met a friend and she introduced me to Buddhism. During the meetings I would meditate as well as share personal experiences that have enriched my life. Before Buddhism I was always in a rush doing things without really enjoying them. I was also desiring more material things. However, after my experiences I discovered that happiness is really inside us. The things we do in our lives (for me yoga, pilates helps me relief stress. I also learned to surround myself with quality people, do more of what I enjoy, as well as live each day like the last one. 

A year ago I moved to Miami from Mexico, Guadalajara. Since I moved I joined Sokka Gakkai International Buddhism organization that focuses towards spreading peace, wisdom, and courage throughout the world. Life is full of obstacles but it is all about how you see and deal with them. It could be easy to say that taking action takes courage.  Focus on your happiness and personal goals. Each year I do a collage of all my goals and I cut pictures from a magazine and create a “dream board”. I place them in a visible place in my room so that everyday I remember my goals. This gives me motivation and passion because each day is a step closer towards reaching my dreams. 

Our thoughts and actions determine our life. I think positive no matter the circumstances.  Enjoy every day, every moment because we don’t know when its our last day. I start living the power of now giving meaning to everything, this creates a magic day and in turn this creates a magic life. Discover what makes you happier, and start living your magic moment now! 

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