Bird’s Eye View is an experience that entails self discovery, self acceptance, and personal growth through writing and travel.
5 words that Bird’s Eye View Embodies
What do I write about?
Self Acceptance (the topic and methods to strengthen our sense of self compassion)
How travel can lead to healing and growth
My travel adventures and how they have nourished my soul
Methods to work through personal struggles and push our way to new opportunities and higher standards for ourselves
I want to positively effect people with talents that I have kept hidden and be open with what’s in my mind and soul, both light and dark.
I’m passionate about writing and travel, so I wanted to create a platform that I can share my love for both with all of you.
I named my blog Bird’s Eye View because I take comfort in knowing that there is always a higher power taking care of us from above as we achieve great things and go through struggles.
We should use our wings to explore new places and people, no matter what personal struggles we are facing at the moment.
I hope that by being vulnerable with my weaknesses, strengths, thoughts, and fears that I can connect with you on a raw human level and maybe even offer hope and encouragement.
I will share some of my inner thoughts, greatest travel experiences, and guidance on how to live fully even with the day to day struggles we battle.
When do I post?
I post once every 2 weeks (every other Saturday). You can subscribe to my website to receive notifications for posts by entering your email (scroll to the bottom of this page and you will find the subscription box) or if you have a WordPress account already, just click the follow button.
Be sure to follow my Instagram account (@beccarod.blog ) and my Facebook account (Becca’s Blog) for beautiful pictures, sneak peeks of upcoming posts, and the lastest news of Bird’s Eye View!
Thank you so very much your your interest and your support! You are always welcome here at Bird’s Eye View.
Each person has a string dangling from their heart, waiting to be tugged and tied to those of others. It is funny how life pulls our strings, knocking us off balance, out of our routine, and ties us up to those we love most in a messy bow in a place and time we didn’t expect. This past May, my family of four found ourselves in Montreal, Quebec, our strings tied in this new city. My parents and I accompanied my brother Jack on this unexpected adventure to support him as he presented his publication at his first International Stuttering convention. The convention was kind enough to allow our presence during Jack’s presentation, but we had to skedaddle for the remaining of the conference, leaving my parents and I plenty of time to explore Montreal. In the 4 days we were there, my family racked up some amazing experiences. These included visiting an interactive art exhibit, exploring an age-old University, strolling through Old Montreal and its Port, tracking down famous Bagel shops, getting acquainted with various neighborhoods throughout the city, and having a picnic in a picturesque park. While each of these activities bring a smile to my face, there were three experiences that left a lasting sense of awe and gratitude within me to be pulled far away to a new land with my mom, dad, and brother.
1. Mount Royal
Cuddled up right next to the concrete jungle of downtown Montreal lays a chunk of dazzling green forest sitting atop a steep hill called Mount Royal. Although this park has beautiful trails to run/bike, open space to picnic, and playgrounds to play on, the main attraction is the panoramic view of Montreal’s skyline from the top of the hill. My family and I started at the base of the hill at Sherbrook and Peele. You can think of this as a sort of “pre-hike”. From this point, the 1st quarter-mile is quite comfortable, despite the gradual yet persistent incline, just wide sidewalks overlooked by historic townhomes and greenery.
When Peel street ended, a lush world of green began. We began scaling the wooden steps lined with black metal rails that would lead us to the picture-perfect view of the entire city. The path led us up, gradual at first then challengingly steep, into the refreshing greenery of Mount Royal Park. The cool moisture in the air balanced my rising body temperature as we tackled each set of stairs. Periodically I’d peek over my shoulder, sharing a squinty-eyed smile with my mom and dad. Wearing a seafoam t-shirt and beige shorts, my mom effortlessly complemented the contrasting viridescent hues surrounding her. “Let’s wake up early and hike this path again tomorrow!” my dad suggested as he panted. Leave it to him to find any opportunity to work out on vacation.
The hike initially seemed like a piece of cake, just a quick walk up to the overview of Montreal. But we came to realize making it up the various staircases without breaking a sweat or breathing heavily wasn’t going to happen. My hands tingled with awe as I looked out at the towering trees and neon leaves that hugged the path, giving me encouragement to keep walking. The dense vegetation had a way of emitting some sort of invigorating peace. A reminder that it was okay to slow down and just admire the natural world, even in the heart of metropolitan Montreal. Huffing and puffing alongside my mom and dad felt calming. I felt a sense of gratitude for their presence that I let swell inside me. The final stretch of the hike led us to a grand building called Mount Royal Chalet that overlooked a tulip-covered slab of concrete that cascaded all the way down to the stone railing at the edge of the hill.
People flocked to the edge, gazing at the panoramic view of downtown Montreal from hundreds of feet up. We could see for miles in every direction. This destination was definitely worth the sweat we broke. I felt like I was looking at a painting as I admired the skinny buildings poking out from behind a bed of bright green leaves. The Saint Laurence River sparkled in the distance under cotton-like clouds that were almost close enough to touch. A view this beautiful rightfully demanded labored breathing, glistening foreheads, and burning calves to be enjoyed.
2. Jean-Talon Market
After sinking our teeth into the warm bread of Montreal’s staple treat, the beloved bagel, we commenced a 30-minute journey through the famous neighborhoods of Mile End and Little Italy in search of the city’s most popular open-air market. As I furrowed my eyebrows at my phone, hoping to absorb the route on google maps better through my squinting eyes, we happened upon a street corner with a large sign announcing The Jean-Talon Marche. We made it!! I wasn’t quite prepared for what we walked up upon as we rounded the corner to this mini-civilization filled with colorful produce, vibrant plants, bustling people of all colors and languages, and food stalls, offering everything from fresh oysters to assorted olives. In awe, I walk down the main aisle, rimmed with vendors chitchatting with market-goers about the freshness of their rainbow of products. Above our heads, thick ribbons of every color dangle from the ceiling, swaying gently from the light breeze that flowed straight through the market’s nonexistent walls.
There is not enough time in the day to thoroughly visit each stand and meet each vendor. The produce vendors may have been the main attraction but the outer edges of the market were flocked with stalls offering an abundance of products, the most intriguing to me being woven plant holders, Middle Eastern sweets, assorted olives, fresh lemonade, and enough plants to create a garden fit for a king.
The rainbow of food, art, and plants delighted my sight. The smell of freshly baked bread and the sound of a variety of languages mingled together hugged me from all sides. The taste of bittersweet lemonade and the cool touch of the ice on my lips cooled my warm skin from the rays of the mid-day sun. “It is probably a good thing I do not live nearby because I would be going home with a wagonload of plants for the front yard”, my dad commentened. Me too dad, me too. My parents and I strolled through the aisles, exchanging excited glances every few steps. They may become farmers’ market people if they’re not careful.
3. Coffee and Pastries
With deep cultural and historical ties to France, it is no surprise that every morning must begin with a steaming cup of coffee and a light airy pastry. This tradition brings me back to the days I spent with my grandma as a child, enjoying un cafecito y pan dulce in the morning. My dad and I are the early risers in the family, while my mom and brother enjoy their uninterrupted sleep into midmorning. Each morning on our trip, my dad and I rose with the sun and walked a few blocks through the sleepy streets of Downtown Montreal to a cafe that would become our go-to spot for the remainder of our trip, Columbus Cafe.
The first time we walked into the cafe my eyes widened with pleasure as they soaked in the sunshine yellow hues of the walls, the natural exposed wooden furniture, the missing wall that connected the cafe to the sidewalk, and most impressively, the array of beautifully crafted pastries, sandwiches, and puddings that sat pretty behind the glass cover. Usually, I am the type of person who loves to try new things. Frequenting the same spots, especially while traveling, was a crime. But something about Columbus Cafe kept my dad and me coming back day after day, even multiple times in a single 24 hours. Although I never really had a taste for coffee, the act of sharing a cup in the morning always made me feel connected with my grandma, and now my dad. Among the multiple trips paid to this corner cafe, we managed to taste the breakfast croissant stuffed with egg and bacon, a blueberry muffin, the chia pudding topped with colorful berries, and the decadent cheesecake that called my name from the second we walked in. To locals, this place may have been just another coffee shop, but to me, it was a little slice of consistency and comfort while in a foreign land.
Just like puppets, we are controlled by these strings that tell us to go here, go there. Divine guidance yanks at these strings that have been making meaningless movements and drags us to where we should be. This trip, while somewhat unexpected, offered me something we do not always get enough of. Time. Time to support my brother and witness his growth not only as a professional but as a person. Time with my mom and dad, joking around, getting lost, and having fun. Time exploring a new place, adding it to my list of travels that I hope one day will be what is remembered of me. Our bows aren’t tied neatly, but they are tied tightly. For that I am grateful.
The bright eyed, antsy young woman glides through the hallway, click-clacking her slip-ons against the cold, hard floor as if she’s running late. She flicks on her classroom light and stares at her corner of the room. A makeshift teacher desk was made by shoving two tables together and sticking a desktop computer on top. The tables aren’t the same height so there is an awkward drop off down the center of the “desk”. A tall black bookshelf stands bare except for the random objects that she has yet to find a place for. Pictures of her family sprawled out on a corkboard, strands of artificial flowers, and cute chalkboards in the shape of hexagons give her corner a feminine touch that offers a lightness to the white, sterile room.
The young woman sits at her “desk” and tries to write a to-do list for the day. Growing up in an environment where productivity determined worth embedded within her a lingering sense of anxiety that always lurked below the surface of her easy-going demeanor. She always needed to do “enough” to go home and rest easy. “How much is enough?” Now that’s one question she’s never been able to answer.
The young woman wants to do her best. She takes pride in her work and know’s the importance that her role plays in a child’s life. She just wants to do well but she does not always know how.
My recent 10 day adventure in Costa Rica has my heart pumping with glee and my mind racing to figure out what my next voyage will be. After every meaningful event or experience in my life, my natural instinct is to fall into a deep state of reflection. This is especially true after a big trip. I am thinking back on my past international travels through my adolescence and young adulthood and consider a dream of mine that I’ve held tight to since I was 15. I have always wanted travel to a new country on my own. “Alone” could have multiple meanings depending on your personality, independence level, and degree of introversion. I suppose you could say I lived out this dream when I was a sophomore in high school… depending on how technical you’d like to get. I signed up with a program called People to People. 40 high school kids, 3 adults, 5 European countries. Everyone started out as a stranger to me. As far as I’m concerned, that’s about as alone, but also connected I had ever felt in my life. I had never spent more than a few days away from my family before then, and by the 5th day… I was feeling like a 3 yr old just wanting her mom.
For the very reason that this trip was a huge test to my independence and confidence, I burst through my comfort zone and developed a mind of my own and a need for independence and adventure.
As I’ve gotten older, my endurance for being away from my family/friends has grown, my curiosity level has increased, and my craving for uncomfortable, eye opening, and euphoria invoking experiences has skyrocketed. That Euro trip opened a gateway for my true nature to roam free. I realized that taking opportunities to be away and test my own self sufficiency actually deepens my ability connect with my loved ones when I come back. Weird how it works. Here I am now, 7 years older and 4 countries richer, still just as eager to explore international soil as that wide-eyed 15 year old girl I used to be. The only difference is now I have an actual paycheck coming in… making funding my desires way easier. 🙂
Like I mentioned before, I just got back from a 10 day trip to Costa Rica last week. Going with a group of 20 something yr old strangers reminded me of my first international trip back in high school… just this time with a lot more booze. This was my first big trip since COVID struck, so it’s needless to say that I was way past restless to get flying again. I was revisited by that child like glee that fills me to the brim as I made new friends, hiked through the rainforest, white water rafted down rivers, zip lined hundreds of feet in the air, and danced to nothing but reggatón. Costa Rica reminded me that when I travel, I feel as if my personality, my spirit, my soul, (whatever you wanna call it!!!!!), surpasses my physical body and expands through the billions of air particles until there’s nothing left of me to stretch any further. Only then do I feel satisfied. Content. Like there’s nothing left I need to do, I’m happy.
On those two epic trips, I was “alone” in the sense that I didn’t have my family or friends by my side. I had to make sure my needs were met, intentionally connect with other people, and be alright with being alone. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly humans can create a bond. By the very first day, I already knew I didn’t need to worry. We were already a unit. These types of trips consistently disprove my own personal narratives that I am too shy, too introverted, unable to thrive in a group setting. That’s why I take them; to show myself that my limits can be demolished and surpassed.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to try traveling all by my self.. without a safety net to fall back on. In a way, this desire of mine is considered taboo. By my parents, for sure.. but to our society in general. A 5’2, 115 pound girl walking alone through downtown Austin could be considered dangerous depending on the time of day and the area… let alone a 5’2, 115 pound girl exploring a new country solo. Would it be lonely? Would it be safe? Would it force me to build unshakable confidence and resourcefulness? I try my best to balance my exploratory and rebellious side with my rational and cautious side. You definitely need both. That I have learned from experience. One day, at the right time and in the right place, I’ll live out this dream. As long as I keep seeking out “Oh sh** moments”, “I’m gonna cry” moments, “I can’t believe I’m doing this moments” my soul will be nourished and my life will be full.
As humans, we are constantly moving in and out of phases of growth and renewal. Just like plants, we emerge from a single seed; the birth of of an idea, an identity, an opportunity, a relationship, a challenge. Throughout each cycle, we grow, we thrive, we wilt, and sometimes we die.
But just as sure as the sun comes up every morning, we will plant a new seed and experience another gorgeous life cycle within ourselves.
It is imperative that we wrap ourselves in the warmest embrace so that we are filled with comfort and compassion as we maneuver through the joys and challenges of each cycle.
A release in pressure to subside the seemingly inevitable, yet utterly dramatic, fall of self is what is needed from time to time. To push or not to push is the million dollar question that I believe most people choose incorrectly a majority of the time, including myself.
If you choose to push through, you will go down either one of two routes:
Endure discomfort to ultimately reach a more durable version of yourself, one that is more physically and emotionally fit to experience life
Continue to work on an empty tank, thus damaging your physical and mental parts and pieces, and move your way towards utter exhaustion.
The human body is a funny thing. You would think that exhaustion is purely physical and the worst that could happen is your body shuts down. I wish that were the case. There’s an inverse relationship between your physical state and mental state when dealing with exhaustion. Your body slowly loses power as your mind runs itself into the ground.
The aspect of burnout that drives your body to Do No Disturb mode doesn’t sound like a bad deal, but the real fun begins when you throw in the emotional fatigue. While your body slumbers, your mind continues to race. Since your mind doesn’t have your physical body to carry out its plans, ideas, and worries, all of that energy gets channeled into your emotions. Anger becomes more intense, feelings become more sensitive, and your threshold for managing stress and frustration dramatically decreases. While your mind is blank and numb from being overworked, your emotions are on full rampage. This is when excessive crying, feelings of overwhelm and hopelessness, and complete apathy sets in.
The inverse relationship between the physical and emotional systems during burnout is contradicting and counteractive.
That is why we must take intentional steps to consistently completing the cycle of stress, thus avoiding this destructive state of being. It is vital in keeping us at or near a healthy baseline of wellbeing.
It’s not the load that breaks us down, it is the way we carry it.
In other words, it is not the actual stressor (ie. work, relationships, kids) that is taking a toll on our health and wellbeing, it is the way we are engaging with the stress that the stressor has caused. We can choose to intentionally receive and work through stress in a healthy and productive way, even when the stressor is still present in our life.
The stressor itself has no power over you and you have no power over it. What you do have power over is your own reactions/self narratives and how you engage/alter your environment.
No matter how proactive we are, the dreadful feelings of stress (both physical and emotional) will always come. That is when we must accept it and work through it by “completing the cycle”. In an awesome book I’m reading, “Come as You Are”, by Emily Nagoski, she explains that most of us live in a constant state of fight, flight, or freeze. This is because our bodies are evolutionized to respond to perceived threats in these ways, but rather than fearing being attacked by wild animals, we are now fearing deadlines, other people’s opinions, and other day to day stressors. While this biological mechanism is useful at times, it can be destructive when our bodies remain in this tense state long after the threat is gone. When you come home from work, the grip of the workload, relationships with colleges, and fear of failure can keep you tied in stress and tension. This can have negative short and long-term effects on health and well being.
The good news is Emily Nagoski has uncovered 7 ways we can unlock ourselves from this state of defense.
Physical Activity: The movement is similar to that of an animal shaking after being in shock from experiencing a near death situation. The motion brings us back to a sense of security and normalcy.
Breathing: The regulation of the nervous system that brings us back to ourselves. Meditation is my favorite thing ever.
Positive social interaction: That refreshing sense that all is well in the world when we can connect with other human beings.
Laughter: The deep, body-shaking type of laughter that fills your body with content
Creative self expression: The reminder that we can unlock different parts of our brain to engage with alternate dimensions of reality
Affection: The reassuringly warm sense of security that only physical touch can offer
Crying: A release of pressure, like water being set free from a mistakenly indestructible dam.
If we engage in these practices religiously, our subconscious mind will fall into a state of ease and calm, knowing that even when faced with stress, we can and will quickly release the tension and flow back into a state of homeostasis. A restful and pleasant baseline of self is what I am striving for, even with my changing life and environment. It may be a lofty goal, but I believe it is one worth working towards.
When you look at a person, you may not be able to tell if they are struggling just based off of their appearance. But if you look closely, you can see it in their eyes. There’s a glaze coating their gaze that signals conflict within. You can see a storm in their eyes. Those who are internally free from their own self criticism and allow grace to soften the grip of worry have a certain brightness in their eyes… one that offers engagement and connection with anyone they come across. They have the mental space to offer their attention to others because they are not consumed with their own storm within. It is reassuring to know that even in the midst of grey clouds, when all you are able to see is the rain falling and the sky darkening, you are only a short distance away from a clear sky. Maybe all you need is a day, a call, a moment of self compassion, or an opportunity to understand something better to realize that your storm wasn’t as powerful as you initially thought. I’ve learned that things are never as bad or complicated as they seem in the moment. God is watching from above, smiling as you step closer and closer to your clear sky. It’s a choice you can make everyday… to walk around with clarity in your eyes, compassion in your smile, and peace within. It is easier said than done.. but it’s worth striving for.
I would like to take a minute to acknowledge what a Rock Star I am.
I don’t usually brag about myself, but I realized something recently that I definitely think is worth sharing; my mental health and personal relationship with myself has improved SO MUCH in the past 2 years. To some people, getting promoted or receiving an award is what they consider an achievement, but for me and my own personal journey, this is a grand triumph worthy of celebration.
It’s funny how this aha moment emerged from circumstances that seem to prove the opposite. I was beginning to doubt myself in these recent months and all the progress I have made because big life transitions and the pandemic have really shaken me to my core. They are forcing me to face age old challenges within myself that have risen to the surface. This is what is happening to each and everyone of us in some form I believe. Traces of the old anxiety attacks and self destructive thoughts have snuck back up and have caused me to question my growth… but today as I read an old post of mine, Break the Cycle, from two years ago, I realized that I have come SO FAR since that time of my life. My eyes filled with tears as I read the experiences of my younger self. I’ve worked hard ever since then to heal my mind and live a healthier lifestyle. Now, just several years later, I am seeing the fruits of that labor.
I have found ease because my mind is healthy. I let God handle my troubles now and try to trust His guidance. I challenge my negative thoughts and change them to positive ones that make me feel good. Iv’e made sustainable changes to my daily habits that have made every day life more enjoyable. I love myself so much more now. I talk to myself so kindly and care gently for my wounds if an stray wave of destructive anxiety swings through… which is way less often. I realize how strong and capable I am. Like I said, I am a Rock Star.
My mind is overall a positive and nurturing place. THIS IS AWESOME NEWS EVERYBODY! It has been hard work, but it has been worth it.
It makes me so proud to say that I can enjoy my days and be present with those I love way more because I am constantly keeping my thoughts in check and making sure I am showing myself love in all types of ways; meditation, positive affirmations, yoga, exercise, dancing, quality time with good people, and journaling. All of these techniques keep my mind filled with light.
Sometimes I slip back into the darkness, but I can get up and find my way back to the light so much easier now. This is something I could not say 2 years ago, so it fills me with pride that I have reached this place. A really great friend of mine told me this analogy a couple days ago when I had slid down to a low place and it filled me with peace and hope; “pretend you’re coloring a picture. You start from the the bottom and work your way up, but sometimes you have to go back down to fill in spots you missed. This doesn’t take away from all that you already colored, that all still counts. It’s okay to need to go back down to work on parts of yourself that still need attention. It doesn’t take away from all of your progress.”
Every one of us are in the process of growth, and I have found that if you put time and energy into your own well being and health, life becomes joyful. Meaningful. Fun. Silly. Worth it. Even when we feel like we are right back in the same old spot we have been trying to get out of, it is important to realize that all of the progress we have made is still something to be celebrated and we should be patient with the parts of ourselves that still need work.
What I want you to take from this post is CELEBRATE YOURSELF! Your progress, your strength, your growth! Because it’s there, all you have to do is look.
To put it in another way, pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world. Why must it be pain? Why can’t he rouse us more gently, with violins or laughter? Because the dream from which we must be wakened, is the dream that is all well.
You have been killed, harassed, and cheated for the color of your skin, for the roots of your descent, and for the core of your being. What one so committed to destructive ignorance refuses to see is the light in your smile, the soul in your eyes, and the depth of your mind. How absurd it is that you are subjected to lifelong suffering so that another can live in convenience. Oh how difficult it to dehumanize you when the warmth of your flesh can be felt and the beating of your heart can be heard. A heart that beats for those you love, dreams you long for, and peace you crave. Lift your gaze and look into the eyes of those who oppress you. Let them sit in the discomfort of what they have done, or have failed to stop. It goes against human nature to remain callused after realizing the depth of pain inflicted on a fellow human being. One of their own. Whether we look like each other or not, we are all one collective breath. If one of us stops breathing, we all stop breathing.
Its time for you to receive better in this one life you are given. Walk the streets for justice, hold up signs for peace, and let your voice be heard for respect. Nothing is too much if it means you are not robbed of the basic respect and love you deserve. The chaos will increase and the screams will amplify so that your children do not grow up with a target on their back. You are given this one lifetime. It is already a tragedy that so many black people have lived and died in a society that disregards their dignity and strips away their prosperity, but maybe if the anger and pain you feel is channeled into creation of the new, not all will be lost. If pain is what is necessary to pave a way for your life to be valued, so be it. May this society awaken.
Who knew it was possible for someone to be so kind, selfless, supportive, and generous.
I do not think my words can do justice to illustrating the true depth of your love because honestly I can’t fully comprehend it myself. It’s just too massive and seems to possess infinite dimensions. Maybe these little observations of you will offer a tiny glance into the incredible mother and person you are.
You always lay a comfy blanket on anyone who sits on our couch because you want us to feel warm and welcome.
You surprise me with home made ice cream sundaes just because.
You drop everything and drive up to San Marcos when I need you with me.
You try to offer me anything and everything of yours (shirts, speaker, gift cards) if I show the slightest interest in them because you are just so generous.
You never tire of letting me cry and vent, and you don’t ever question my shifting moods or indecisiveness.
You created HALO, a club that gives boys and girls of Latino heritage a place to feel safe and proud of themselves.
You do ANYTHING you can to help someone in need.
This is probably 1/1000th of all the things you do that sets you apart from the rest in my eyes, but as I think of more I can update this post until I reach 100, 1000, maybe even 10,000 of your quirky and loving habits to this list.
I’m not too sure how I scored a mom like you.. and often times I feel guilty because I can’t give you as much as you have given me. I will still try though, even though you have made that a tough challenge with all the selfless Iove you’ve poured into Jack and I the past 22 years.
Just know you’re loved so deeply and my life and this world is so much better with you in it.
The enemy is not me. The enemy is not him. There is no enemy. Just simply an immovable Truth. It just is what it is. Something to respect and accept.
The enemy is not me. The enemy is not our past selves and all that we did or didn’t do. There is no enemy. Just simply a natural Truth. It just is what it is. Something we have known, but chose not to welcome.
The Truth is beautiful, however sad it can seem. It is patient and will linger until we are ready to embrace it. Just like you and me, the Truth deserves to be loved and accepted just as it is.