Freediving Mermaid

Cozumel, Mexico: “La Isla De Sirenas” (The Island of Sirens)

Applied Mermaid

I arrived at Cozumel, the island of sirens. I was fascinated with how smooth my post-covid travel with United Airlines was. Not a huge fan of the plastic snack bags, but love the snacks.

I get a shuttle costing me $6.00 USD to Casa Del Mar. 

As I look out into the city through the window of my shuttle van taking me to my hotel I take in the peaceful scenery with vibrant colors and the ocean line view as if I’m following it’s trail. 

This is the first time I have traveled alone to a resort. #womenwhotravel 

I check in to my hotel and have the rest of the day to prepare for my PADI freediving mermaid course.

ABA Beyond Autism: The Future of Applied Behavior Analysis is Bright!


So, you love the field of ABA therapy and all the data taking techniques that come with it but autism is not the only demographic you want to work with? Maybe you just don’t want to work with children all together or would like to diversify the clients you provide your services for. What are the steps you need to take in order to take your skillset and rebrand yourself as an ABA therapist? Hmmm…well, a big part of this responsibility is going to lie on the overall Applied Behavior Analysis community to advocate for the expansion of different areas of expertise ABA can be applied to and this begins with you.

You don’t have to feel bad about wanting more from your credentials. Working repetitively in any given field can be daunting. It may feel like you are not growing as a person. The best way to begin leveraging your skills to other areas of interest is to sit down and write a list of all the things you are good at or would like to learn more about. Essentially, you want to see what you are truly passionate about and are willing to take the time to see how you can “apply” the principles of ABA into that field.

Areas of ABA that are already expanding due to the advocacy of passionate ABA therapists in different fields are ABA Sports & Fitness, ABA in the fight against Obesity, ABA Life Coaching and Counseling, ABA targeting disruptive and destructive behaviors such as OCD and Addiction, ABA Animal Behavioral Patterns & Communication, ABA Criminology, ABA Consumerism, and ABA Organizational & Planning Skills, along with so many more untapped areas of expertise! The beauty of our profession is that it has been built on sound research and science so it’s not going anywhere.

Ultimately, we are able to analyze the data to allow us to create programs based on factual evidence to produce a change. The data we provide as skilled behaviorist is essentially our voice to provide back to those who can benefit from its conclusion in order to help them produce new behaviors that gain satisfactory results! Does that sound like something that is only useful to autism patients? The reality is that everyone can benefit from the the subfield science that stems from psychology better known as behavior analysis from a well trained clinician.

If you would like to learn more about how ABA is shifting into more areas to help save the world make sure to subscribe to this blog!

Tour a corner of Florida you’ve never explored.

Applied Mermaid
Mayor Carl T. Langford Park

Florida is known for so many things and yet we hardly relish entertaining anything but the likes of a quiet picnic on an eco tour with friends enjoying a native exotic fruit picnic or booking a mermaid photoshoot on a whim with Orlando Mermaid School where you can transform into a mermaid for a day.

Applied Mermaid aims to update you on top parks for photoshoots, picnics, neurodiversity & eco friendly tours for individuals or families seeking to connect all in the diaspora of our greater Florida Eco Village.

We will feature our own Orlando Mermaid School, Tours & Lifestyle along with offer other services and experiences of local businesses and tour guides alike.



The real self is such an elusive concept. Can there really be something inside of all of us that defines who we long to truly be? (“Flips the script)

(Clear’s throat from coffee and continues)…Let’s get back to the real narrative. Real is what you make of it. People are always going to be attracted to goal-getters. But sometimes goal-getters are not attracted to themselves. Thus having an aura around them that can manifest as validation seeking, co-dependent, and pessimistic.

I hate to break it to you as I’m still attempting to break it to myself but there is no one that’s going to put you back together the way you want to but yourself. So if you hate yourself and don’t start learning how to re-invest in yourself you’re never going to get your power back.

This is when routine can be your saving grace because everybody has one even if they don’t think they do. For example, a depressed person’s routine can look like this:

Wakes up and showers (if that) 11:00 AM
Eats food left over on the counter from last night and continues to avoid the dishes 12:00 AM
Gets back in bed and watches Netflix 1-5PM

Wakes up after receiving enough rest to conquer their priorities for the day while still making time for things that light up their spirit and adds value to others by respecting themselves and their boundaries.

Time management is key and consistency is the door to new opportunities.

This manifests differently in everyone’s life because everyone has 24 hours in a day but we all get to decide how we want to utilize it.

Remember, time is a resource.

Use it wisely…

Now go make that coffee and enjoy the day

Mermaids are Real

Applied Mermaid

Water to us is like our second womb. When we are immersed in water we immediately feel a sense of inner peace and healing. Holding our breath underwater is a mediational process and discipline. Mermaids are real through an applied mermaid approach and that begins with a mentality. Ask yourself where you are in your life. Do you need a transformation?

Mermaid Model


There is nothing wrong with some good ol’ modeling but Applied Mermaid is so much more than that. It’s the ability to collaborate with community, give back to the environment, and help people undergo a transformational process through learning. In fact, I would view Applied Mermaid as being a model for the world. I AM an Applied Mermaid because I care about the Earth and I hold myself accountable for her.

Snotty Mermaid

Applied Mermaid

Although being a mermaid advocates for self awareness, self regulation, and self care on every level of the individual, it is not always a fabulous world. Especially up above the sea where what we do affects us down there. Underwater sports and fitness takes discipline. In the mermaid sports world it takes it a step further and adds a second layer of breath control required to take your tail into newly unventured depths.

Static Apnea Training for Meditation

Applied Freedive

PADI Freediving Mermaid Certified

Applied Mermaid

After much anticipation I am finally certified as a PADI Freediving Mermaid.

What does this mean? I am part of a small, yet growing number of certified mermaids with one of the largest underwater sports organizations in the world!

I completed this program through Jewels Diver, a free diving mermaid with over 10 years of experience in Cozumel, Mexico.

I got into this sport by being instagram curious of another mermaid. @themermaidelle another Puerto Rican mermaid to be exact. I was like, “good gracious that tail is bodashious”.

Getting into water sports is a reminder of my connection to water and how I’ve underestimated my natural inclination to it for quite some time, suppressing myself from all the amazing Florida Springs that the amazing state I live in has to offer.

After training I also quickly realized that it’s better to underestimate than to overestimate and learned about Loss of Motor Control and Black Out that can occur from lack of oxygen. I will begin to document all that I’ve learned and will continue to as I found this to be a fascinating part of my training.

I’m just as in love with freediving as I am with mermaiding and I’m not in a rush to try scuba at all but I am sure that I will be getting that certification in the future as well to venture deeper and longer into the depths of the oceans, springs, rivers, and just about any gem of precious swimmable healing water that Earth welcomes us to.

This world is so unique and I want to share it with as many people who are interested as it is such a low impact, alternative sport for full body fitness & mental health that makes for great gains.

Cheers to becoming a Freediving Mermaid Post Pandemic.


Applied Mermaid
(Cheryl Pastrana)

Rise and Thrive with Applied Mermaid: Diving Deep into ABA while Navigating RBT > BCaBa > BCBA waters

Applied Mermaid

I’m currently sleeping at 9:30 PM each day to fight off a cold one of my kiddos gave me while giving them ABA therapy at work. They clearly had yellow snot but what kid that age doesn’t have some form of snot coming out of their nose that would be alarming enough to have them sent home?

The parent most likely won’t have the means to take care of them because ABA therapy is a place to drop their child off and receive exceptional, concentrated, one on one care from board certified therapists while they go to work and provide for their families.

Hence why we are considered front line workers or first line responders. Whichever way you would like to see it, anyone going to their job during a pandemic has been risking their health to put others health in front of their own. Particularly those working with patients. And yes, in ABA our clients are our patients in need of quality care and our demographic is typically more vulnerable to colds and flus because many of these children can’t tell you when they are sick and need to stay at home to get the proper rest they need to recover and not infect therapists and other patients in a clinic.

With going to sleep earlier comes rising much earlier as well. The vastness of dark space and the little noise you can make around 4:30-6:30 AM feels daunting to be up around.

But I finally decided to suck up the anxiety of the dark vastness interacting with my looming thoughts and did all the miscellaneous things that require little effort that would take away about two hours of my morning during sunrise hours.

Next thing you know the coffee is brewing, the instagram feed is being scrolled through, and it’s 7:00 AM on a Saturday before Easter on an unusually cold morning in Florida on a spring day.

For some reason waking up in darkness seems to make our minds focus on dread, imperfections, and anxiety of unfinished things. Which is why most people are not keen to wake up at this time. But, with that being said the early bird that rises before the sun rays has the advantage of picking at their brain enough to want to focus on the important stuff by the time the light is shining through their windows. Plus, it makes for a spectacular view if you are facing towards the East.

To wake up earlier I recommend setting an alarm and rising an hour earlier than you usually would each day and rewarding yourself with something each morning: a Starbucks coffee, small sweet, etc. Each week implement this change to reflect rising an hour earlier up to your desired wake up time. No particular wake up timer is better than another but studies do show keeping up with a natural nocturnal rhythm of rising with the sun and maintaining 7-9 hours of sleep is best. Some people need more sleep so plan accordingly.

If you would like to take data to keep yourself accountable you can download my 5:45 AM morning streak chart to help you on this challenge.

I hope you can rise and thrive to the occasion of life.

Protect Your Brand & Voice: Your Website Keeps your Brand in Control. Your Blog is your Voice.


Whether it’s a shadow ban, conflict of interest, deemed inappropriate by an unknown standard, or simply not being up to par with fixing internal web issues, it seems that social media is not the golden standard in promoting your brand to grow your audience anymore.

Lets begin with this important statement:

Social Media is not a democracy run platform. The same protections you may get from the constitution may not apply normally to your posts, such as freedom of speech.
Essentially your post, product, and entire account can get removed from a platform with little to no reasoning justifiable to your standards or even that of the law.

Think of social media platforms such as instagram, twitter, and even etsy as the maritime law of the web. 

Comment if you fall into any of these categories: 

1. Working hours on quality posts and doing everything by the book just for instagram to block the hashtags you carefully selected and made sure were not banned. – How many hours are content creators losing in this arena? The price is hefty. Want to test this? Hashtag your own name in full (including your middle initial) and see if it pops up on recent posts. If it doesn’t pop up you are most likely shadowbanned.

2. Algorithms changing with little to no transparency, reducing your exposure to likes, comments, and following.

3. Platforms such as etsy suspending your account for being in minimal to no association with a banned account with little to no ability for you to protect your brand from falling victim to their scrutiny. 

3. Platforms such as Twitter deleting your account because you are posting their version of “FAKE NEWS” despite freedom of press and independent thinking.

4. Powerful company platforms such as Amazon wiping out your profits as one of the biggest online retailers in the world working with small business with minimal government regulation on their appeals process if something were to go awry.

This is all pretty scary stuff considering the direction of most businesses spreading brand awareness through web advertising, building online communities, followings, and marketing on social platforms that well, are not so social anymore given the regulations and controls that are simply not regulated or transparent enough for us to have a chance at keeping up. 

On the other hand when you own your domain name and decide who gets to host your channel you are much more in control of what happens to your brand, content, and ultimately run your own voice. 

With this comes great responsibility as what you post becomes live the moment you publish not just to a particular platform, but to the World Wide Web ready to make an impact for better or worse on those who fall upon it. 

Sure, your exposure starts off slow and you may want to learn about SEO and other ways to add traffic to your blog such as adding tags, pictures, videos, and overall optimizing the pages you create. But this channel you build from the ground up not only can be shared to social media channels you are already on, but it stays put with little to no input of anybody else primarily because – You control it.

So, what’s the verdict? If you do not maintain a public web presence with a blog or vlog, (by embedding video footage into posts, photos, and of course the sharpest knife in the book), then you will always be at the mercy of the mysterious algorithm, bots, and moderators whom may not have the same views as you. You risk being taken down or even more frustratingly not have any of your efforts met for the exposure you worked so hard to get because it was out of your control.