Vacations

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” Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. “

-Soren Kierkegaard

Are you ready for a once in a lifetime get-away! Are you feeling the dread of the work week! Do you ever feel like your life is a dull mindless routine! Well, think again! With our exclusive vacations, all your problems will go away! No more depressive thoughts! Call now to receive this once in a lifetime deal plus a gift card of your choice to spend in anything you want! This is basically what every get-away commercial is based-off emotion appealing benefits. Therefore, our mind is tricked into creating a beautiful reality where we envision ourselves enjoying in beautiful sandy beaches without a worry in the world and sipping on frosty piña coladas while watching our picture-perfect family. Don’t get me wrong this is an excellent thought to have, especially since modern-day marketing models many of its advertisements from these elements. Additionally, vacations are romanticized throughout social media, many of us posting these nicely edited photos to make our holidays seem nicer than what they are. Unfortunately, this sets our expectations higher, allowing more space for disappointment and shortcomings; this can significantly affect our vacation experience, which defies the whole purpose of a vacation.

So, what is a vacation? Why do we have them? Often, we insinuate vacations with pricey hotel bookings or that we must set aside so much money to enjoy ourselves thoroughly. Unfortunately, having this mindset doesn’t allow us to enjoy our vacation. By planning more, we experience less essentially, and I know to this might sound ridiculous, but in many cases, it’s quite factual. As humans, we always like things to go our way; we feel distraught when things don’t go as planned. Now you can imagine how a family feels when their flight is canceled or when an incident prevents them from enjoying the rest of their vacation. Although, vacations are for enjoying ourselves and releasing accumulated stress which is why we look for different ways to do that; therefore, the hospitality industry takes advantage of this problem and creates all sorts of attractions to attract a wide array of demographics. As a result, of our increase in workforce and business growth, also don’t forget our populations demand for material possession that has created numerous jobs; all of these factors, demand more hours from workers, more hours cause fatigue which then makes the worker look for ways to relax. This is the backbone of most hospitality businesses which is why many emphasize the customer service component; hospitality businesses are aware of the demanding jobs many of their patrons undertake which is why they want to create unforgettable experiences. However, this cannot fix our deeper issues, which is what we need to differentiate when we travel or go on vacations.

We are the same person every place we go, see we look for happiness in these beautiful places that we find on social media. We create an illusion in our mind of how happy we are going to be or create these massive expectations that are bound to collapse at any unplanned misfortune. Ultimately, a vacation can be anywhere; anywhere our mind can feel at ease, anywhere where we can reconnect with our spirituality. We don’t have to spend much money to achieve this; instead, we need to invest in ourselves to enjoy a vacation. In other words, if you are feeling sad now and depressed anywhere, you go that same feeling will follow, we cannot deceive ourselves with changing our personalities or behaviors just because we are going on a pricey vacation. One thing we always need to remember, incremental lifestyle changes sustained over time is what impacts our overall vacation experience.

My Story Website Owner – Lisa

” All things are artificial, for nature is the art of God.”

– Thomas Browne

Lisa Ivette Camacho was born in Bayamon, Puerto Rico and blessed with a loving and giving family; who raised her with a strong belief in God and that all things are possible if you develop a strong faith-based mindset. However, many of my childhood memories are bittersweet; likewise, many of us, when reflecting, have experienced this feeling. After being diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at the age of just two years, my parents promptly decided to move to Orlando, Florida, seeking greater medical advancements to provide me a better future. Unfortunately, These efforts required endless hospitalizations and rehabilitation services, which amassed to staggering medical fees. However, my family’s sacrifices and prayers paid off, and I am delighted to say that I am living a healthy life without complications. In retrospect, my childhood experiences have instilled my faith and my eternal gratitude for the Lord’s blessings so that in turn, I could bless others in this world.    

As a young Hispanic woman, I promised myself to create a dream for my life, run after it, and make it happen. Therefore, I can genuinely say that after two decades of hard work in many ways, my life dream of helping others has come true. One of my most excellent mentors in leadership and my career is the legendary Mary Kay Ash, and she wrote: “The definition of successful people is simply ordinary people with extraordinary determination.” These words describe my own story, my identity, and my pursuit of becoming a leader in this world. In other words,  I am an ordinary woman determined to create an extraordinary difference in this world. 

In 2002, I graduated with a Master’s degree in Social Work, and I have dedicated my life to serving in the areas of medical case management and hospice services. Social Work has taught me about the complexities of human behavior in an often chaotic world. Thus, healthcare is one of the most critical organizational industries that continue to impact people, and they’re well- being around the world. Additionally, the adventures of social work have taught me about the physical, emotional, and socio-cultural aspects that develop and impact human beings. Honestly, Social Work has given me no greater satisfaction than to see individuals thrive in diverse cultural environments, whether this entails environments filled with struggles, violence, victories, or pursuits. Ultimately, Social Work has prepared and led me to believe in the power of leadership and how it can shape communities, build organizations, and strengthen human development.

As a medical social work leader, while working with the issues of death and dying, I understood that for humans to reach their highest potential, an individual needs to become aware of his/her spirituality. This longing to understand how people develop in their spiritual life also led me to complete a Master’s of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary in May 2017. My theological studies have empowered me to help others find community and faith. So, in addition to working as a full-time medical social worker, I also volunteer in my local church serving as a coordinator of the Hispanic Ministry and as a minister in the Orlando community, where I teach Bible studies at a Dunkin Donuts weekly. Every month, the ministry attendees are also collectively able to enjoy various social activities and individually reflect on their spiritual growth through my devotional writings and dialogues. As a result, I have watched so many people become empowered in their faith journey with God and their relationship with others.  I feel blessed to have been given the gift of influence and leadership, but not for any personal gain of power, but to serve as an instrument to help others achieve more and greater success.

For me, living the dream of leadership has only just begun, and I believe that the doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership can and will help me complete that dream. My greatest passion has been to merge my two careers in medical social work and Ministry. As a result, by understanding the components of business and various organizational leadership structures, I believe that I will accomplish the dream, and it can only strengthen the vision by expanding my horizons and knowledge. As part of fulfilling that passion and vision; ultimately, I plan to use my skill sets in the field of missions work on a global scale.

The Culture of Materialism

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Throughout our history we didn’t preoccupy our minds in needing wanting excess materialistic possessions, we only required things we used to survive the day-to-day routine; for instance, basic shelter, enough food, and the means to obtain resources/supplies to cover basic needs. However, nowadays our mindsets have changed drastically, we are now fixated on the excess material that is advertised to us either through social media or directly in retail stores. Therefore, we have created a delusional hamster wheel were have succumbed to buying and trading goods endlessly year after year. Consequently, we have a placed value on always having more, buying more, and hoarding till our heart is almost filled; however, after all those shopping trips, and compulsive buying behaviors we are still left discontent with an ever-growing void.

We don’t realize how all the material possessions we crave once obtained will still leave us feeling empty, and the happiness achieved will only be short-term. Sadly, many do not realize this concept and still delude their minds with illusions of completion in their lives solely based on material possessions. As a result, we create more problems than we initially solve; therefore, companies take advantage of this undesirable mechanism which they can feed new products too; thus, repeating the cycle of wanting something, purchasing it, flaunting it, and then craving more. Similarly, this is the lifeline of fashion trends; it starts with the diffusion of advertisements through various platforms where an amassed number of consumers start sharing and eventually purchase from one or multiple vendors. Later, this becomes the spotlight for a certain period where trends begin, and maturity stage of the marketing cycle begins. Ultimately, this where trends start dying off, and we find something new to start fixating on; see we can’t base our self-fulfillment and happiness on these trends or fashion marketed products it is self-destructive an endless cycle of consumption, our foundations begin within ourselves not some human-made product.


     As I was strolling through the local mall one on a Friday evening and seeing all the “Final Sale,” “Today only.” Moreover, I wondered should I take advantage of this sale that’s so alluring and so desirable which only supported my impulse to go in the store and browse through products I am only going to use a few times then end up in the depth corners of my closet. Which is why I suppress my impulses to purchase anything and just ended up window shopping. See our culture is fixated on materialistic tendencies since the beginnings of trade and commerce it symbolizes wealth, a long-lasting life, and a way to reduce/fix our problems. This the main reason why products are invented primarily to build an illusion in our mind the pleasures we will receive from using and showing them in social settings. Ultimately, this is the way we have thrived after the commencement of commerce, so why should this matter? Well our answer lies within a biological trait we are instilled with, the eternity question. The eternity question follows us throughout our lives; it plagues our mind to create values and metrics on how we evaluate our lives. Therefore, a mix of material abundance and eternal life metrics creates an everlasting craving for material attainment; in other words, when we purchase or seek goods the underlying value is that by buying a specific quantity or type of product will give us the high that we are going to have a form of eternal life. For instance, when we visit a clothing store, we see a few items on sale, and our mind goes banana for these types of deals which makes us think and this is the result. Those shirts look so lovely if I buy this one I can wear them for my next office party. Oh, this shirt would go perfect for my brother’s wedding. See the underlying value here; our impulses have a perpetual eternity trait, which is why we see all these monuments and statues with various names on them many of them unknown to us, which is one of the major components to our grueling hunger to attain material possessions this horrid value and its black hole of consumption.


     Now this unwanted trait alone isn’t what makes us a society materialistic, see our brain is one of the greatest and trickiest components of the human organism; our mind is made up of many emotions and logically based mechanisms which is why we need to cope with different responses and emotions with logical based thinking. As a result, many institutions have taken rigorous amounts of time to study the human brain and what triggers certain events, and they’ve concluded that our mind feeds more from emotion-based stimuli than logical reasoning. Ultimately, adopting different methods to seduce our emotion-based thinking compartment and with the rise of social media usage, this has only facilitated the way our minds reacts and what responses it has on our impulses. Consequently, social media is an easily accessible communications tool where they now have the power to advertise products and services. For example, Instagram has integrated a live story mode to its posting capabilities which displays a real-time event, and commonly businesses take advantage of this by posting a group of individuals having a grand time with the usage of their product in some form or a public figure using their product.

Ultimately, this has an untreated effect in our emotion-based thinking which generates social value for the product associated in the advertisement which is why we favor name brand products like Nike, Adidas, Apple, and designer clothing. It is all supported by celebrities and instilled in different forms of media; unfortunately, this has created a disastrous mindset in many demographics where if one individual is seen with a specific name brand product, they are given opulence and praise in social settings. Thus, spreading into other social issues like bullying and denigrating others due to their lack of attaining that product; however, many lower social-class individuals use their limited resources in achieving these wanted name brand products despite having any money left to purchase their necessities. As a result, many individuals do this to gain social status/re-assurance that they fit into a particular social cohort. This trait is inherent, though, throughout history, we have thrived because of social gatherings. From tribal groups to vast incorporated empires; although, we need human grouping to survive as a species we have based it off common values like religion, tradition, customs, or even a common goal which is more sustainable and meaningful than if our neighbor utilizes the same name brand shoes, phone, or electronic appliances.


      In summary, we cannot sojourn our materialistic predispositions altogether it is highly illogical since it is the bloodline for economies and the rudimentary functions of society. However, we can re-prioritize our values and how we perceive our purchasing impulses by really placing importance on things that matter and not evaluating others by what they have, nonetheless, what they offer. See our society provides a lot more commodities and luxuries than it did years ago due to technological advances and constant innovation; one thing that hasn’t changed is the wealth gap the subliminally deteriorates many. Sadly, many of us compare our lives because of the worldly possessions’ other possess, which is so saddening since many material objects are dispensable and replaceable. Ultimately, we need to place an importance on spiritual values and see what we can offer to others, not material items, simply what we can give intangibles like love, compassion, and acceptance of hardships. As a society we have become fixated on the material and how we evaluate our lives and others based on what they wear instead of going back to the roots of true human unification which are intangibles things that are not dispensable. Our happiness must be based on consuming less and prioritizing our happiness on spiritual and development of our well-being without the consumption of materialistic things.

By: Gerald Francis & Megan Pozzaglio

My Story – Gerald Francis (Website Administrator)

My life story thus far is like many of you full of surprises and downfalls, which of course is expected with our ever-changing society. Let’s initiate with my upbringing; I grew up in a variety of nations, primarily in Western Europe, which influenced my personality, music tastes, and love for the arts. However, it was not always like this; I was born in the small nation of El Salvador, which is located in the middle of Mesoamerica whose neighbors are Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. In retrospect, my childhood was a blend of different elements from enjoying the simplest things, living a humble environment, and the interaction with a wide array of demographics like a cathedral mosaic pattern. Although I didn’t spend the majority of my childhood in El Salvador, I absorbed the humbleness and experiences to fuel my outlook in life, which also fueled my steady work ethic. Shortly, my family and I moved to the United Kingdom where I had to learn adaptability since I did not know any English whatsoever, and my school did not have many ESOL programs since it lacked in diversity; thus, no little demand which meant I had to learn the hard way and adapt to the environment I was living in. Hence, the origins of my developing adaptability trait; this trait has facilitated my ability to interact with different demographics and adapt to different circumstances which may favor me or be against my odds.

Subsequently, I was faced with a horrendous ordeal that plagued my life in unimaginable ways, which were my growing obesity. After moving from nation to nation and trying different kinds of cuisine at staggering serving amounts, I found myself eating more than my body could breakdown. Consequently, I did not have a sustainable exercise routine which did not favor my eating habits and my overall health; as a result, In 2016 I was feeling horrid this was my freshman year in High School it was one of the worst Monday’s I can recall. The start of the day was mundane nothing unusual the standard drag of a High School headed to their classes; however, after lunch, I was feeling light-headed my body was shaking, and I felt so weak also my hands where so numb as if needles were stuck to each finger. Therefore, my parents took me to get blood samples after calling my doctor, which revealed the horrid condition I was in; from high blood pressure to alarming stages of hypertension and even high cholesterol! Ultimately, I was at the lowest point in my life at this point I had to change my habits and develop an accountability-based system to combat these obstacles since I did not want to look 285 pounds my whole life. After, an arduous journey to of weight loss and all sorts of suffering, I finally came to my transformation of 215 pounds, which impacted my self-esteem, outlook on life, and overall lifestyle choices. In other words, I have used a similar approach to my academic career/professional career, and no matter how staggering the odds are against you, you need to hold yourself accountable to your faults and setbacks that is what makes the impact to your transformation and overall success. Unfortunately, our modern society has offered us false quick fixes with lucrative marketing practices that appeal to our emotional-based systems; for instance, many of the apps and pills we are always advertising offer a “quick-fix.” Which we savor in our minds and create mirages that our problems will be fixed, no more hardships, and pesky problems that obtrude us from achieving those highs we crave. In summary, my story is this, ever-lasting change and adaptability is impossible if we do not set accountability mechanisms to change our behavior and overall lifestyle we will not thrive and despite what popular media says about “quick-fixes” there is no such thing, and no matter what they advertise a meaningful/purposeful life is only attained through sustainable incremental changes sustained over-time.

“Look around you. Everything changes. Everything on this earth is in a continuous state of evolving, refining, improving, adapting, enhancing…changing. You were not put on this earth to remain stagnant.” 

Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

source: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/evolving