Life

Note to readers: I started typing this blog on New Year’s Eve, as it was my intention to get one last post in for 2013. I wasn’t able to get it up in the desired time, but I still wanted to fulfill the intention. So here is what would have been my last post of last year. Much of it is still captured in a December 31 frame of mind…

In my last post, I mentioned that I wanted to end the year with a blog titled, “Alignment.” I’d been holding on to that thought and yesterday, I jotted down some ideas with plans to get the blog written and posted before the official end of the year. Both my 6 year-old son and I are on a holiday break, but I was able to get him out of the house so I could have peace and quiet to write. After lighting my incense and preparing my space, I received some very sad and unexpected news about a co-worker I’ve known for more than 5 years. When you work with someone that long, you get to know their life outside of work. And when something impacts their outside life in a tragic way, it’s hard not to feel it for them. After talking to a few other people I work with, I just sort of sat with my thoughts and feelings, and all I can think about is how delicate life really is. It’s one of those things we know, but definitely something we can also easily take for granted.

I still want to write the other blog I planned for, but I felt the urge to write something about what I’m feeling in this exact moment. So many reflections rolled into my mind. Life is delicate – so that’s why it is imperative that we find and live our purpose. Life is delicate – so that’s why we must take the risk of opening ourselves to giving and receiving love. Life is delicate – so we must take advantage of the opportunities. Life is delicate…

My beloved Godmother transitioned in May 2013. Although she just turned 80 and lived a full life that she defined, I wasn’t prepared for the news of her passing. And I’ve experienced both sides of transition, in the sense that I know what it feels like to lose someone suddenly, and what it feels like to prepare to lose someone. Just as we always have a knowing that life is delicate, we also know that no one lives forever. But as we move along our individual life journeys, there are those certain people we meet or encounter who feel like they’re always going to be there. And my Godmother was one of those people.

Not long after she passed, I wrote on a post-it (I have them everywhere in my house) what my Godmother was to me and I posted it on my closet door. Elder. Educator. Friend. Godmother. Spiritual Guide. She helped to shape and nurture many of the elements that make me who and what I am. She helped me to understand myself as a woman with a unique perspective on life; being and growing up as biologically interracial, but emotionally, socially and mentally identifying as a Black woman. She helped me better understand myself as a Scorpio. She listened to my cries and she celebrated my joys. We traveled to the African countries of Ethiopia and Ghana together. And since my freshman year in college in 1995, when I had the opportunity to take an African-American literature class taught by Sonia Sanchez, she told me I had a gift of writing and that my greatest success would come from it. When I was born, she and my mother together created my middle name. She was and is a part of my fiber; a root in my tree of life. Losing her was definitely losing one of my mother-figures. And I wasn’t prepared for what that would feel like.

What is most amazing to me about my Godmother, is that with all I just wrote about what she was to me, she was all of this and more to countless other people in her life. My Godmother was well-traveled, so I’d always known that she’d met a myriad of people along the way, but it was at her life celebration service where I was able to see her life as a whole. All of the lives that she affected with her presence were joined together in one room. And in actuality, we were just the ones who were able to make the service. For as many people who showed up to share condolences and a kind remembrance, there were others who couldn’t attend or who had already passed on.

“They” say that in the end, what matters most is what you did with the dash between the time you were born and the time you transitioned. My Godmother made her dash count. If you were blessed to know her, you knew that she enjoyed life. And if she loved you, you knew that she wanted the same for you. Her life celebration was a reminder of that. And even though the news I received about my co-worker is different, the reminder is still the same. Life is delicate. We must remember to focus on the dash.

I am still very much trying to define, fine-tune and fully live out my life’s purpose. I definitely have more clarity than I had 10, 5 or even 2 years ago, but I am still at an internal crossroads in many ways. I am beginning to see and feel all of the things my Godmother saw in me from the day I was born. I am a creative. I am a free spirit. I am an energy healer. I am a writer. Things that for many years, I would have never thought myself to be. Things I resisted. Things I played down. Like many of us, I thought it was about getting my college degree, finding a good job, getting married, having kids and settling down. I am proud of both my undergrad and Master’s degrees and I have worked hard for over 10 years since receiving both. I was married and I have one son. And I still want companionship, more children and the feeling of settling in with a true life partner. But when you have a gift inside of you, it is not going to go away. It may sit quietly within your spirit until you are ready to identify it (as was/is the case with me), but it will not go away. For all of my resisting and playing down what was God-given to me, my gifts of my creative and healing self finally came to a place where they are bursting at the seams and can no longer be ignored. So I put one foot forward and then another. I started this blog. I went deeper into my Yoga practice. I completed two levels of Yoga Teacher Training. I further completed a Thai Yoga Massage certification and became initiated into the first level of Reiki. None of this was in my plan even 2 years ago, but I continue to put one foot in front of the other and keep an open heart and mind about the journey that lies ahead. And as I continue to grow, I cannot help but to think of my beloved Godmother. She was holistic and would have been so proud of me for all that I am undertaking. I can almost hear her voice now, with a smile in it, telling me to write about each and every one of my experiences.

I know my Godmother is still with me and although I very much miss her physical presence, I am blessed to have her spirit as a life force with me. When time passed after her transition, I was able to clearly see and know that I have a true warrior goddess by my side. I know that spiritually, she will help guide me to those great successes she always said I would have. Just as she made her dash count, I know she will play her part in ensuring I do the same.  It feels more imperative to me now than it ever has.

Life is delicate, my fellow readers and warriors. You owe it to your highest self to find your place in this world and make your dash count.

Namaste.

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This is a poem written by one of my Godmother’s former students. It perfectly captures the essence of who my Godmother was and who she will always be to those of us who knew her.

A Warrior Has Walked Amongst Us;
A Warrior Now Walks in the Spirit World
(Livicated to Dr. Hennington)

The touch of her wisdom was gentle,
but her wisdom
was powerful and profound.
It gave us the language
with which to wrap our tongues
so that failure
could not be spoken.

Her thoughts she delivered to us,
one by one
like soldiers marching out
from behind their past
to be reborn into our seeking minds.
For she knew
there were more battles to win.
And she knew
we would need a certain wisdom
to win them.

And her smile…
Her smile seemed to sum up
all the happiness of her years
and unwrap them,
one by one,
a gift into our present.
Each one a promise
Each one a prayer
Each one a reason to believe,
and a blueprint for survival.

Listen y’all,
she lit up that small room in Harlem
on Tuesday nights
with a deep knowledge,
inescapable wit
and genuine laughter.
Lucky us
to have drank
from the cup
of that fine elixir.

Dr. Hennington,
We were beyond lucky to have you.
You spoke to the warrior in us!
Called it by its name!
And demanded it to stand up for the being
we presented you with.

Dr. Hennington,
We were beyond lucky to have you.
You spoke to The God in us
Reminded us of its presence
And with the gentle persistence of knowing, challenged us to honor It.

Dr. Hennington,
We were beyond lucky to have you.
You spoke to the fear and doubt in us
Turned it to The Warrior God in us
Reminding us that sometimes,
the greatest battle to win
is the battle over ourselves.

Your life
was such an honorable gift.
We thank The Creator
for all you gave in this life,
from the first smile
you offered the world as a child
to the smile of hope
you left us with;
an indelible stamp of perseverance
in the face of any obstacle.

This poem is an acknowledgement
that you have touched our lives
in a way NO ONE ELSE COULD.

We will carry you,
your memory
and your name
with the utmost dignity,
honor and respect,
befitting of a Warrior
such as yourself.

This poem is a prayer:
Creator, the beginning and ending of all things,
I humbly ask You,
please carry our Sage Professor, Dr. Hennington, giver of wisdom, knowledge and hope,
safely into Your arms
and watch over her journey
with Your angels by her side.
May her journey in the Spirit World be peaceful, and as powerful
as her brief walk here
in the Womb of Ene Ufne (Mother Earth).
Thank You for bringing
Your child into our lives.
We are forever grateful.
We are deeply honored.
We will carry her memory well.


M.I.A.

Dear Readers:

I know this blog has been rather quiet for the past few months. I miss writing, and I miss the loving comments and feedback I receive when time is generously taken to provide it. It’s not that I don’t want to write. Believe me, I’ve had so many ideas pop into my head and I think, “I’m going to write about that!” But then the blog never comes. I have post-it notes placed all over my home with ideas for blog titles, but the content hasn’t come to fruition.

post-it with blog title

post-it with blog title

When I first started this blog, I made a promise to myself that my process for writing would be an organic one. As a mother, daughter, sister, friend, full-time employee, etc., I feel like I have so many obligations and I wanted this space to be one of the few places where my work isn’t forced or done because it has to be. If I felt like writing, I would. And if I didn’t, then I wouldn’t. It would be that simple. Things were a little choppy at first as I figured out the direction I wanted to take this blog in, but then I hit a streak and the writing became easier. This blog has been in existence for 3 years now and this is the first year where I’ve had months-long gaps in between postings. I personally find that interesting because I’ve had so much happen this year, that one would think I’d be furiously and continuously sharing and posting updates. But what I’ve been missing lately is that spark, the thing that hits me and makes me stop everything to write down the words that come flowing into my mind.

Sometimes I hear a song or a phrase, or I read something inspirational and words will literally start building in my mind. From there, a new blog is birthed. The titles have come, but the building off the title has not. I’ve been telling myself not to be hard on myself about this, but I mean it when I say I miss writing. It’s a gift I’ve always had, but that I’ve not put too much emphasis on, no matter how many people have told me that I need to maximize this gift.

My beloved Godmother Martha, who I call Mamere and who passed away earlier this year, always told me: “Rachel, writing is your gift and your greatest successes will come from it.” Mamere was such a sage; so knowing about so many things, that I firmly believe in this prediction. She always suggested that I send my pieces to Essence or even Time magazine, to which I’d tell her, “Mamere, they’re not going to be interested in what I have to say. My story is similar to that of so many other people. I’m simply an interracial woman who is raising her son and trying to figure out her way in this world.” Her response was always a simple, but wise one: “Yes, but no one can tell your story the way that YOU can. And you never know who will relate.” Sure enough, I’ve received comments on this blog from people who’ve said they appreciate how open I am with sharing my story because they have a similar story, or that they’ve found inspiration from the words I’ve shared. Mamere was so right. And I am so, so grateful that before her passing, she was able to read my blog postings. A few months before she left us, she sent me an email with one sentence about my blog: “I like it.” That meant the world to me. Still does.

In my journey as both a yoga student and new teacher, I have learned that certain poses represent emotional locks. And when we resist those poses (resisting can come in the form of fear or doubt), we are resisting what could be an emotional breakthrough. I have been looking at my writing this way lately. Perhaps there is an emotional lock within me that I need to release and when I do, the words will come. I’ve overcome many challenges, good and bad, so far this year but in my own personal opinion, the biggest lock has been letting go of a love relationship that I held near and dear to my heart for just about three years. It was a relationship that I completely invested myself in, even though the stakes were very high that I would not receive the same investment in return. I don’t regret making the choice to engage in the relationship; the “ups” and the high points were very happy moments for me. But what I learned, albeit somewhat painfully, is that I should never put someone else’s needs, desires, dreams and wants before mine. And admittedly, that is what I did. I loved hard and I got lost along the way. But it’s okay, because I have found, and continue to find, my way back to me. Working on the letting go part was what I found to be most challenging, because deep down, even though I made the choice to put a final end to our relationship, a part of me still wanted him to come back to me. More so, to choose me. Because I never felt like he did. But again, it’s okay, because I learned the lesson of choosing myself. And if I had to go through this particular relationship to learn that, then I am perfectly at peace with that. The more I have let go, the more I have found freedom within. And interestingly enough, I have had more ease in perfecting my expression of “bakasana” (crow pose) – the one yoga posture that is currently my challenge pose. I constantly struggled with this pose and still do, but I’ve always believed crow pose is a gateway pose for me and when I am able to hold it with ease, many of the other poses that are elusive to me will come. As I have made a conscious effort to move away from the past and follow my own voice, the lift and hold in crow has become much easier. And although this particular blog is not one of the blogs I’ve been wanting to write, it’s still a blog. The emotional release is in process. And I am moving closer and closer to living, breathing, speaking, being and returning to my most authentic self.

To those who have taken the time to read and follow my blog, I say thank you. Thank you for your love. Thank you for your support. Thank you for your encouragement. I may have disappeared for a while, but my gift of writing will never go away. I don’t know when the next blog will come, but I have a feeling it will be sooner than later. In a way, I’ve been putting myself back together emotionally, spiritually and physically and that is where the title “Alignment” in the picture comes from. It popped in my head one day and I won’t let it go away. Perhaps it will be the blog that I end this year with. And when that blog does manifest, I look forward to also sharing about my progress with crow pose. And maybe some other poses, too.

Before I end this, I’d like to share with you a quote from the great Wayne Dyer. I’ve been listening to his CD set, “Secrets of an Inspirational Life,” in my car every day for the past few weeks. It is just the nourishment my mind and soul have needed. I encourage you to check it out if and when you can.

“You’ll never find your light by analyzing your darkness. You have to analyze and immerse yourself in what is magnificent about you. You are a divine creation. You are a piece of the whole. A piece of God. Treat yourself that way at all times.”

Love and light, magnificent creations. Namaste.