One Step At A Time

Today’s lesson comes from being present while doing the most mundane tasks. I’ve always wanted to live in a (at least) 1 storey house. Now that my wish has been granted I never thought that would mean going up and down the stairs multiple times/ day while carrying loads of things (a glass of water, Iphone charger, laptop, then laptop charger, socks! brrrr you see where this is going, right?!). Add lets add laundry! to that list and soon enough I’d end up like a Chinese acrobat juggling the funniest combos while mindfully walking up and down the stairs.

My insight happened the other day while going up the stairs while counting the steps and repeating to myself “1 step at a time, Ileana; 1 step at a time” (try doing that calmly while you’re peeing big time). You see I was carrying a heavy load of freshly dried clothes, a handful of other items, again water! (highly dangerous, I know, as you can spill it and slip on it) so my plate aka my hands were full. In my enthusiasm half way up, like there was no turning back one of those moments occurred and something had to give. For just 1 split of a second I lost my balance and it looked like a catastrophe in the making. Me, falling, unable to reach anything to hold on to, in pain, with stuff all over the place and the nagging voice “I told YOU so!”. Luckily, I was spot-on and quickly re-composed while repeating to myself my stair-counting mantra “1 step at a time, 1 step at a time, Ileana”. I was saying that out-loud but for 1 moment my mind went in an instant to another place (upstairs, duuh, and to the other items I was about to bring downstairs).

And then it hit me, pun-intended. How many times have we not committed to more than we can take even tough we KNEW that was too much? How many times have we gotten ourselves over-friggin’-whelmed with chores/ stuff/ to-do’s maybe sometimes just for the sake of “being busy” or keeping up with others in our life who seem to be so successful and hence they are ALWAYS busy doing something?! (being non-stop on social media doesn’t help either). How many times have we told ourselves “I will start THIS tomorrow”? (and then let other commitments pile one on top of another, sacrificing often what is really important to us out of fear of not letting people down?). Or perhaps wanting to start a new creative project/ business/ positive habit and then getting frustrated as we want all the answers/ details now and then deciding we’ll wait until we have ALL the facts and better timing?! (insert your excuses here).

We will always have fear. Resistance. Uncertainty. And unless we find inside ourselves the courage to take 1 single step at a time nothing is going to change for us. Be it clean clothes or writing that book you’ve been talking about for ages, starting your blog, asking for a raise, drawing that portrait, taking up a new career, signing up for that class where you know you’ll be a complete newbie (and you will suck! and that IS fine, too!).

So, before I head downstairs again for the millionth time today (my desk is upstairs, its where I write and I also forget stuff most of the time) let me ask you this 1 thing “if nothing changes, 3-5 years from now, looking back on yourself, would you regret NOT having taken this opportunity?! YES or NO?!”. What comes first?! Don’t over think it, just be aware of the sensations in your body and mostly your stomach (your “gut”). That’s all. Your gut always has the answer. You don’t need to let anyone know, apart from yourself what that answer is.

I really hope to hear from you soon and your new beginnings. And while looking back may today be the day you sat with yourself even for just a minute and listened to yourself. Then, take 1 step at a time in the direction of your dreams.

Signing off today with one of my favorite quotes by Nelson Mandela:

“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”

P.S. If you enjoyed reading this do share it with your friends! And hop on over to Facebook in The Pineapple Diaries and join in the conversation!

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Life’s Journey Towards the Big Ocean

Just like a river flows to the ocean in the same way our life unfolds. We may sometimes come across rocks or boulders, we may get slowed down in a swamp and feel like sinking heavily into mud. At times we might even stop to wonder “is that all there is to IT?!”. And the harder you pull to get yourself across that rocky mountain or out that swamp the more you feel like you’re sinking even deeper. Resistance has its sneaky ways of taking away your energy and leaving you feeling drained and overwhelmed. And what might seem counter-productive (such as “stop from whatever it is you’re doing and just stay there”) is exactly what will get you out of that swamp.

You might sometimes want to “do it all at once”. I mean, come on, of course you can BE-DO-HAVE anything that you want to. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if someone would guide you along this messy process of getting yourself un-stuck and then ready to create the life you’ve always desired?! Now if you’ve been procrastinating things for a while then you might feel there are some areas of your life which need special attention NOW. Hey, you might even feel that ALL areas of your life need attention right now. (been there, done that too :-)))).

Things like you want to have a healthy body AND feel good about yourself AND have tons of energy, clear skin, exercise or discover some form of movement which fits you perfectly, AND meditate every day, AND read all the books you’ve always wanted to, learn French AND Japanese, AND hang out more with people who share your ideas & with whom you can talk freely about what’s important to YOU, AND feel more connected to the world around you and to your-Self, AND make peace with your family and siblings at last (tough one!), AND learn to cook a nice meal for the Holidays, AND change your job, get that promotion, AND move to this place you’ve always fantasized about, AND create that beautiful piece of art that’ s been on your mind for ages but you never seem to make the time to actually manifest into being, and the list goes on and on.

The river always reaches the Ocean just like we are born into this world. The journey can be smooth or it can get shacky at times and bat-sh*t c-r-a-z-y. That’s why we say that “allowing is far more productive than striving”. Water naturally finds it way to the Ocean. Even when facing obstacles water will gently go around it and continue to flow. Even when there’s rocks and it seems quite impossible to go around it (think of Grand Canyon for a second). Sure it might get tangled into a swamp on its way but that wont ever stop water from flowing.

How would you feel if you knew your life goes pretty much the same? And that whenever you experience along the way it’s OK! Your life still continues to flow. And that it’s up to you how long you’ll stay tangled in there. Because the river is always flowing. And what you can do right here, today, this minute is to deliberately choose to FLOW with it. Sure we can always blame someone else for getting detour-ed. That others are luckier than us, have better (looking) genes, a great metabolism (can I get one too?!), born into rich(er) families, won the lottery and so on. But that won’t get us further.

So just like quick sands in the dessert whenever you find yourself stuck in a situation – stop! Stop AND breathe. Look around you. Check with yourself and see how you’re feeling. Stop pulling and stop pushing. You’ll only make a much bigger mess out of it. And get yourself even more deep into that sh*t. You know oh-too-well the story of “what got you here, won’t get you there”. Therefore you need to change the way you look at things, which is your mindset.

This is where I step in. And guide you & get you all cleaned up out of that messy swamp. Get you a nice change of clothes. Hey, maybe even a different hair cut 😛 and color. Hahaha! And last but not least, give you some awesome tools to take charge of your big life journey towards the Ocean. (from teaching you how to first and foremost LISTEN to yourself, talk to your(Higher)Self, make friends with yourself, care for yourself, and care for those around you).

Because when that river finally gets to the big Ocean all you have to carry is yourself. So why not choose in this moment to make your journey fun, exciting, kind, educative and caring?!

Stop. Breathe. Look around you. There’s so much beauty out there waiting to be discovered. To be looked at. And taken all in.

Photo by Wolf Schram on Unsplash <3

When You Feel You Are Not Enough

When we try to figure things out mentally (as in over-thinking them) 2 things happen:

1. We fail at telling the truth to who matters most (our Selves)
2. We end up frustrated because in the end the lie gives us only a temporary relief just like pain reliever when you had one too many drinks the night before

It took me about 8 years, 5 different formal qualifications (read “diplomas”) and endless exploration journeys only to come back in the same place: trying to define yourself is like biting your own teeth. Same goes for answering the question “so, what you do for a living?” when what you do does not fit in ANY of the traditional boxes (and God knows I have searched, tested, profile-d, experimented, prayed, yelled over a kazillion boxes “Let me in! This is where I belong”:-)))).

Only to end up disappointed 12 – 18 months later into that 1 particular box I was shouting at. There goes another one. You can cut that off your list! See ya later miss “lifestyle & business coach”. So long “personal trainer specialised in cardio-fitness, body building & functional training”. Buh-bye Ileana RD (registered dietitian). Au revoir “marathon runner, carb-lover, big-quads athletic girl”. See ya later miss “events manager”. Adios Ileana aka “trainer, facilitator & coach”. Toodle-oo “diversity & inclusion site lead”. Cheerio “Toastmasters club president & founder member”. And this is just to name few of the things over the years!

You see, making a commitment involves taking risks. Like tripping over and falling. Learning how to sit with “what is”. Risk of not looking good (ever tried eating spinach while wearing braces?! I did!:))). Disappointing (some) people?! Not being “everything to everyone”?! And not getting one too many “likes”. But there’s also a greater risk which exceeds all this: NOT HAVING LIVED. Like Steven Pressfield beautifully frames it in his “War of Art” (a must-read for anyone who wants to create anything, write, paint, dance, photograph, etc):

“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”

Therefore I would like to leave you sitting with one question today “how are you feeling in your life right now?!” Where in your life do you feel most energized? (when you are working or playing, maybe when you are by yourself)?. What drains you? What relationships are no longer serving you & you are just holding on to them out of inertia?

Drop me a line in the comments below and let me know.

And when you feel that you are not enough, know that YOU ARE! And why not try a little experiment while you’re at it: since all your life you have been criticising yourself for years and it hasn’t worked how about try approving of yourself and see what happens. (quote by Louise Hay, You Can Heal Your Life)






Why Journal

When’s the last time you actually wrote on paper, by hand, about the ALL the things going on through your mind, your day-to-day, your hopes, your dreams, your plans, your worries?! ..
Now why would you journal?!
1. Because getting stuff out of your head and onto paper is the easiest way of releasing things that no longer serve you. It’s like literally taking a dump, a brain dump :))
2. You will feel lighter, like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders. Once things are out of your head it means you will stop carrying them around. 
3. Your mind can no longer trick you into “ohh, but I NEVER said that about this topic” 😀 clarity comes through engagement, NOT through thought so if you ever feel confused or not sure what to do next always write out everything on paper! <3
4. It will help you see the big picture/ connect you with your vision.
5. Its the easy way of staying authentic and (re)connect with your inner voice regardless of the field you are working in (you don’t have to be a writer, or a creative to WRITE). You get to spend some time with yourself and what is TRULY important to YOU. Especially in a day & age where information is coming at us from everywhere.
Give it a go, grab a piece of paper and start writing!

P.S. If you enjoyed reading this do share it with your friends! And hop on over to Facebook in The Pineapple Diaries and join in the conversation!

When You Are Resisting Change & How To Turn It Around

Today I am writing about change. And resistance to change. How we (our minds) can trick us into believing “we have arrived”, we already know the answer and that we’re THERE. Which instead says NO to anything that might remotely come closer to improving oneself.

The thing is this: its a trap! You wont believe the pain and the struggles one has to overcome not to mention the time we loose in between suffering. What I loved about Steven Pressfield’s “The War of Art” is the simple and yet profound truth that we can actually learn how to navigate by resistance. Meaning that whatever it is that we’re mostly resisting to (be it eating a healthier diet, taking up exercise, refraining from gossiping, stop offering unsolicited advice, change your job, change your friendships, etc) this IS exactly the thing we mostly need to do at that particular point in time in order to grow.

How many times have we been in a situation (usually not a pretty one) but where you get this nagging feeling that it’s not the first time you’ve been there. Maybe in another context, maybe with other people, maybe in your previous job, maybe when in college, etc. There is a common thread to it. You can’t really put your finger on it but you feel it so vividly in your body. Whether its frustration or the feeling that “something is missing” or “it’s not quite right” the same types of situations will continue to surface in various ways and different forms until we learn to face them & learn our lessons.

I will give you a quick example: you are at work. You have a colleague that has been mean to you. And its not their first time. You let it slide. You feel hurt but you choose to ignore it. Then your girlfriend keeps running late every time you meet. So late that at times you might be there waiting for 30 – 45 minutes until she shows up. You let it slide. Maybe you have a good old friend (you know, that kind of friend you grew up with) and most of the times they will ask to borrow money last minute for an “unexpected emergency situation” only to fail at giving it back at the time they promised. Now that we’ve put it all into writing it’s much easier to follow the thread. It’s a no-brainer someone here’s got boundary issues! Boundaries are so important when it comes to our own sense of well-being. Maybe you’ve been told that having boundaries or “saying no” is selfish. When the opposite couldn’t be more true. Boundaries are act of self-love and they provide us a tool for growth.

Now let’s run the same scenario again, this time with boundaries “switched on”. Enter mean colleague: you choose this time to openly acknowledge what they’ve just said to you and go something like “hey, I heard what you’ve just said, that was totally mean and from now I’m not going to put up with this”. Then carry on with your day. Enter late-running-girlfriend. “Honey, next time we’re meeting I’m OK to wait for you maximum 15 minutes. Then I’ll consider you’re not coming & I ‘ll be on my way. So if you really want us to meet at the time & place you chose please arrive in max 15 mins else I’m gone”. Bam! That was not even so difficult, was it?! Enter money-borrowing-old-friend. “Dude, this is the last time I’m giving you money. I don’t feel comfortable doing this and from now I have decided to stop doing the things that make me feel like crap (which is the part where I ask for my money back & you genuinely pretend you’ve forgotten about it then you try to convince me that you’ve already paid me back then I feel like a bad cop and honestly I have had it). So we’re still friends, only this is the last time I am borrowing money. If you don’t pay it back 2 weeks from now I no longer need it back. Okay?!”

Now that you’ve started creating some boundaries you’ll soon start experiencing life in a totally different way. Like people you work with will start treating you better, maybe they’ll even start looking at you with respect and admiration, perhaps your girlfriend will be “just” 15 minutes late or maybe you’ll hook up with another girl that’ll be more punctual 🙂 or your old friend will actually acknowledge their own behavior and they’ll start working on it once they realise this “habit” doesn’t serve them too.

I am not saying that you need to do all this at once just try and defuse that resistance one step at a time, one day at a time, one situation at a time.

So maybe next time when you get this nagging feeling that “something’s just not right” and “I sooo don’t want to this” instead of taking your phone out or open a new browser window & surf the web just stay where you are and ask yourself “what is it that I need/ feel I really need to be doing at this very moment? what is the thing/ action I am resisting to the most?”. Then get head-on to it.

I promise you’ll be so surprised by what’s going to happen next.

Now I am curious to find out where in your life are you facing the most resistance? In what particular area?! And what is 1 thing that you feel compelled to do and yet you’re not doing it?

Drop me a line in the comments below & if you liked this and you think your friends might enjoy it and find it useful please forward them this email.

Your is kicking resistance right in the butt,
















Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

Feeling Overwhelmed?!

Don`t know what to do next?!  Kinda wanting to start things but still unsure what exactly?!  then this might just give you a kick 

“Much of the time when people say they’re being analytical about their lives, they’re engaging in circular thinking with no drive towards a clear goal. They’re trying to figure out what to do by thinking about what to do.

That’s a mistake.


You need to explore. You need to gain experience since experience bestows tremendous clarity.

How do you know which foods you like? By tasting lots of different foods. How will you know what kind of lifestyle you’ll enjoy and can maintain? Same way… by exploring and experiencing different possibilities.

Even when you don’t know how you want to live, then pick something you’d like to taste.” (Steve Pavlina)

Stuff I’m Passionate About


Let’s talk passion today! Ole! 

First and foremost, your passion in life does not equal your mission.

You can be passionate of so many things at the same time. For instance, I’m passionate about sports, I even went “to school” got trained as a Personal Trainer, then I trained for a marathon,  then for another one and so on but that does not mean my mission in life is sports. Of course I love what sports can do for you: great energy, you feel empowered, you look great and nonetheless you get to eat whatever you want (most of the times, at least!).

I’m passionate about the art of telling stories and/ or public speaking. Because I know and I’ve witnessed the power of it. Getting people inspired and most importantly getting people to take action as an in-direct result of sharing your story – this is fantastic! That’s why I spent so many years in learning & development. Witnessing change, being the change agent, facilitating change through the work one does I think it’s one of the most fulfilling things for me.

Nutrition/ getting good habits is another topic I’m going crazy over it. Because just like storytelling this “tiny” habit can make or brake anything. You can be brilliant at what you do, but without eating healthy & balanced and mostly without LISTENING!!! to your own body you won’t get very far. This physical body we’re in it’s our home here on this Earth, think of it like its your very own car: you get to travel anywhere you want to go but unless your car is properly cared for, your oil is changed, your tires are pumped and you have a full tank you won’t get very far. We only realize the importance of all this sadly and mostly when some parts of the engine are starting to choke and need fixing. Ouch! Many of us need a “wake up call” and some of us have been getting a more or less gentle one depending on our circumstances. So yeah, nutrition matters! No body, nobody does the work. Pun intended.
So drink that glass of water, throw in a handful of nuts and reach for a banana instead of sweets.

Cooking is pretty obvious. But for me it’s mostly about getting to transform and create things on a very physical and visual way. You get a bunch of “stuff” and out of this pile of boxes and fresh goodies just like flipping a magic wand some time later they all blend into an amazing dish. Taaa-da! And then you get to eat it. And it tastes delicious. It’s a feast for the eyes and a delight for your taste buds. And to think of it it was just a bunch of apparently non-related things sitting on your kitchen counter. Wow!

Another big one is building a circle of people who support you and who CARE for your well-being. Whatever you want to achieve, to be-do-have, anything in THIS world revolves around who you know and who knows you. Now I’m not talking about the old “go to an event, get as many cards as possible and hand out your own” networking “strategy”. I am talking about approaching differently the people you meet in all walks of your life (be it at work or in your own time).

Admit it, when you were a kid things were easy: you just went and played with other kids. You made friends. You had a lot of “exposure” given the amount of free time you had back then. Now as an adult you hear yourself saying this over and over “I don’t have the time” or “time is money!” or “I’m not sure I can make time for this”. Less time, less exposure, less people. If this were completely true is says that as you grow older your number of new friends shrinks. Unless you intentionally and purposefully go and make things happen.

To be honest with you this is “thing” that I’ve always done naturally just like breathing. You see, I’ve always been curious about people. Of course you can “fake” it but people “smell” that miles away (dishonesty and so does desperation have the same “smell” but more on this later). Ever since I was a kid I kept striking up conversations with everybody. At some point my mum even made a joke saying that “you’d be great at bringing Death over ’cause by the time you come back everyone would be long gone” !! stating that whenever she’d send me to get something from the store I’d always come back hours later as I always got so absorbed talking to everybody from the shop assistant to the milkman and our next door neighbor about anything and everything.

So by age 8 I knew everything about everyone from our neighborhood, kids’ parents, shop assistants, older kids, school teachers etc. Some of the most amazing things I’ve done (like getting an all-expenses paid trip to Asia in my 20’s or staying at the Ritz, etc) would not have ever been possible if for my unique way of relating to people.

You see curiosity brings with it a sense of play, and this is what we are all craving as adults. The freedom and joy that comes from not having an outcome attached to the experience and just taking things as they come. Kids are not afraid of failing. Kids are not afraid of success. Kids don’t have a notion of “oh, maybe I should be playing this over that because this will matter on my grade list”.

Exploring with a sense of wonder and innocence. And being amazed by the outcome. Whatever that might be. Because when you tie yourself to “this and only this” you are going to miss out on everything else. And staying open and receptive is the number 1 thing you can do at all times regardless where you’re at, your age or your income level.

So here’s to amazing exploratory trips down the road of life. in this year that has just started! 

May this be the start of a beautiful friendship. 

Now, tell me what are YOU passionate about?!  What makes you giggle and kick your feet? Drop me a line in the comments & let me know.

And if you like what you’ve just read and have friends who might enjoy this do share it with them and hop on over to Facebook in The Pineapple Diaries to join in the conversation with other passionate people just like you.



How You Choose Goals When You’re Multi-Passionate & Wanna Do E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G

There is a voice that doesn't use words.

Today’s topic revolves around goal setting and how you choose goals. How do you know they’re right for you and how do you make sure you stay on track and achieve those goals.

If you are a multi-passionate just like yours truly then you might know by now what does NOT work for. Which is following the same “old” advice that goes “just stick to 1 thing only, pick 1 thing and get super good at it”. Yeah, right! It might work for these “linear” people who see things in terms of black and white. But when there’s more than 50 shades of grey when it comes to what your interests & passions are – pun intended – that approach will fail you 100%.

When you have many interests which you are pursuing at the same time it’s easy to get scattered and feel you are not getting much done.

What I have discovered to be of help is working with “process goals”. Instead of setting 3 different goals with little impact & growth / added value such as: loose 5 pounds, learn German, cook dinner at home at least 3 times/ week, etc. Go instead for 1 BIG process goal such as “run Boston marathon 12 months from today” and see what happens. Since running a marathon is such a big & complex goal which involves you getting transformed into this whole new person which you’re not at the moment (which is a marathoner!) you’ll have no choice other than to cook dinner at home 3 times/ week (or at least have something ready for when you come back from your runs), you’ll lose more than 5 pounds for sure, you can listen to an audiobook in German while you’re at it running around the park and you’ll feel just awesome since exercise gives you so much endorphins. Makes sense?!

You can apply the same process to pretty much any other type of goal such as “get a promotion at work “(super vague, generic, nothing in there to help you grow). Try instead turning this into a process goal. Ask yourself “who is 1 person I look up to at work? What are they’re top 3 qualities that I would like to get some of that? How can I use these 3 qualities into my own work?!”. This brings so much openness and opportunities for growth so much more than a bland “I want a promotion”. After answering these q’s you can work the details on your own (get specific with what you want to have in your job).

A friend of mine asked me recently “how do you know if a goal is right for you?”. Or where/ how do you set these goals? Do they come from your mind? (like after doing a brainstorming session). Do they come as a result of talking to someone you trust? Are you setting a certain goal just because this is popular among your friends?!

I’m sure you have noticed by now that whenever you set a goal because you think “this is the right for me to do” or “I should be doing this by now” or “all my friends are getting married/ having babies/ working up the corporate ladder, etc.” that particular goal never seems to come to life. It gets moved from your to-do list to the next month and then the next Monday and soon enough the year is over and you realized that it’s the2nd or 3rd time that nasty goal keeps jumping from page to page in your daily planner.

When it comes to yourself there is only 1 expert who knows what’s best for you. And that expert my dear it’s YOU. Of course others can/ will help but when it comes to making the decisions it’s you and you alone. So don’t try to “blame” it on your family, or friends or mentors or partners. They surely want you to succeed and be happy. But most of the times their vision of happiness is worlds’ apart from what you own vision looks like. They will advise you by saying what THEY think it’s best for you. So what can you do then?

Well there’s a beautiful quote from Rumi saying “there’s a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen.” You can sit and do exactly that. Just that. Listen to yourself. How you do that?! Well one of the easiest ways is to “sweat it out” put on your sneakers and go for walk or do some sports, anything that will get you heart pumping for at least 30-45 mins. Then come back, take a shower, change, relax and get some stretching. Ask yourself “what do I really want? What would I do if I was not afraid?!”. And listen.

As simple as that.


P.S. If you enjoyed reading this and you have a friend who is also a multi-passionate please share it with them! And hop on over to Facebook in The Pineapple Diaries and join in the conversation with other multi-passsionates just like you!

Drop me a line in the comments below and let me know what would you like to get done by the end of this year (that’s 362 days from today, yay!).