I have really missed this space. I miss writing. I tell myself almost every day, “I need to write.” And yet this space has continued to remain empty. For months, I haven’t shared a thought, a quote, an inspirational passage…nothing. I’ve had moments where words have hit me and I thought I would write something. But still nothing has come to pass. Sometimes this scares me, because I call myself a writer and yet, I am not writing. More so, I was told by my Godmother that my greatest success would be in writing. She transitioned last year and I now consider her as one of my ancestors. She had a very knowing way about her and was a sage in her own right. She spoke to the higher level that lies within me. A level she’d always known was there, but that I would eventually have to find my way to.
I’m still finding my way.
I digress about my Godmother because in my heart, I feel and believe that if she saw the writer in me, then it must be true. But if I am not writing, then how can it be my greatest success? I always state that I want my writing to be organic and not forced. But I wonder sometimes if I don’t write out of fear. As I grow older, more mature, more awake and more enlightened, I realize that I tend to fear that which speaks to my greatest potential. I know I am courageous, because for the most part, I have felt fear and moved forward anyway. This was made evident through moving to the Washington, DC metro area from New Jersey for grad school and not knowing a soul when I got here. When I got married and gave birth to my son. When I filed for divorced and became a single parent. When I trained to be a Yoga instructor and for Thai Yoga massage and Reiki I certifications. But it’s about taking things to the next level.
I teach one Yoga class per week, but have somewhat avoided taking on private clients, even though I have had my fair share of requests for private sessions. In being completely transparent, I fear that even with all my formal training, I am suddenly not going to know something or that I am not going to be able to help someone, or worse, that I could hurt someone. This fear translates into avoiding reading emails that I know have requests for private sessions or not really putting myself out there for obtaining clients. And the funny thing about this all? The people who I have done private yoga with just for fun, or who I have practiced a Thai Yoga massage or Reiki on, have all said the same thing: that I have warm, healing hands and energy work is exactly what I should be doing. What’s even funnier is that almost every day when I drive to work, I ask myself what else can I be doing? What is it that I want to do instead of spending so much time in traffic and constantly feeling like I’m rushing someplace? I ask myself as though I don’t know the answer, when answers have clearly been placed in front of me.
I’m still finding my way.
In my mind, I live on or near the beach. My home is an open, airy space with a room that is dedicated to Yoga, meditation and other forms of energy healing. When I wake up in the mornings, I do my own Yoga practice. I meditate. I read affirmations. I write in my journal. I am able to prepare breakfast for my son in a leisurely manner and I am able to drop him off at school without constantly trying to move him along and make him go faster because there is a looming clock to beat. Instead of sitting in and fighting my way through traffic to get to a place where I mainly sit behind a computer all day, I go teach Yoga classes. I meet with private clients. I write contributing pieces for like-minded publications. I share affirmations and writing pieces in my social media spaces. I am able to pick my son up from school and take part in his extracurricular activities. I am at peace.
At this stage in my life, I know enough to know that peace is what you make it. The true work of Yoga and meditation is being able to find peace and solace in the midst of even the most chaotic situations. But what I see in my mind’s eye makes my soul feel at peace. I have pictures that speak to this life on my vision board. I know what it will take to get me there, but it’s that initial first step I have hesitated to take. This is the fear I speak of. The fear that I know is preventing me from my greatest potential. The fear that I believe plays a part in my lack of writing. I am at Point A and I can see Point B. It’s the bridge in between that I have held myself back from crossing. On this side lies questions and wondering. On that side lies a life I envision for myself. It’s another experience of having to feel the fear and doing it anyway.
I don’t know if this particular blog post makes much sense. But I am now sitting here, proud of myself for having finally written something. I didn’t know exactly what I was going to write. I just knew I wanted to share that I have missed this space.
I felt the fear of not writing and I wrote anyway.
I’m going to keep that vision of the life I want at the front of my mind.
I’m still finding my way…
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.
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.
she lit up that small room in Harlem
on Tuesday nights
with a deep knowledge,
and genuine laughter.
to have drank
from the cup
of that fine elixir.
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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
I have an extremely busy work day and week ahead of me. But my spirit felt compelled to write and share an “aha” moment I had while driving into work this morning.
If you know me personally, at some point in time you’ve had the “I don’t know what I’m doing with my life!” conversation with me. If you don’t know me, but you’ve kept up with my blog posts, then you’ve probably had this conversation with me via the words I share. It’s no question…and I am not ashamed to admit…that I have been trying to define and re-define my purpose for quite some time now. The truth of the matter is that I am going on 36 years-old in a few short months. Outside of not knowing how I got here so quickly, I also have a pretty strong fear about my life continuously passing without me being fully aware of my soul’s mission and purpose and more so, without me maximizing and fulfilling that purpose. I know 36 is young in the grand scheme of things, and I believe it myself when I tell other people that you’re never too old or it’s never too late to pursue your dreams. But the fear still remains and is sometimes exacerbated by my desire to leave behind a legacy for my son. I don’t need my name on a hospital or to win some national award, but I do want to live a life that my son can look up to and be inspired from. Both of my parents, while well-educated and successful in their own career paths, weren’t rocket scientists nor did they come up with some great invention. But they were public servants who each dedicated over 35 years to the public agencies they worked for. My mother was a social worker who retired as a Deputy Director of a unit that dealt with sexually abused children and my father retired as a Public Defender. Both worked for the City of New York, so you can imagine what came along with their respective career choices. We weren’t millionaires by any means, but they were certainly proud of the work they chose and as a little girl, I was more than proud to listen to their stories about the lives they impacted or literally helped to save in some instances. For many years, I thought I was going to be a lawyer just like my dad and I even did a brief stint in law school at the University of Maryland (UMD) while I was pregnant with my son. I quickly learned that practicing law was not my purpose, which is why my time at UMD only lasted 6 weeks. What I have always known for sure though, is that I was put on this earth to help other people. I’ve always felt this deep in my soul, but I have not been able to figure out how to translate this into a viable career path.
Because my parents instilled in me the values of education and hard work, I did not find it challenging to obtain my undergraduate degree and ultimately, my Master’s degree in Public Administration (no surprise I selected this program, since that was the chosen work of my parents). I moved to the Washington, DC metro area to pursue my Master’s, but also with the goal of working in lower-income/underserved communities. My life had been personally impacted by the loss of my nephew to gun violence, and I wanted to do something…anything…to have not had him die in vain. I was able to land a “good” job upon completing my graduate studies and from that good job, I was able to secure others and ended up in the position I currently hold. It’s far from community work and not something I ever grew up thinking I would do, but I am paid well, I can provide insurance and other necessities for my son and I’ve learned things that I know will benefit me in the long run. But the one thing I am not, is fulfilled. There are days when I am able to just roll out of bed and make the most of what’s ahead of me, and then there are days where I feel like the lack of fulfillment is eating away at my spirit. Those days can be tough and I do what I can to try to find a place of peace. Today is a sort of combination between the two. I woke up wanting to be motivated to tackle the week ahead, but deep down, there’s the “thing” that is nagging at me. The thing I feel when I make a 90-minute commute (each way) for a job that’s 20 miles away. The thing that eats at me when I have to leave my son for yet another business trip and he is asking me why he can’t come. The thing that just sits there when I don’t get home until after 7 and still have to cook, tend to my son’s needs, try to have him in the bed by 9:30 and then have some kind of time for myself while also striving to get in the bed by Midnight. I know this cycle overall is something a majority of us struggle with, but more and more, I am having a hard time accepting that this is the way it has to be. In my heart, I believe there is so much more.
Last week, I spoke with a friend about my Yoga practice and teacher training program. I talked about how great it is to be in such a zone during the training weekends, but how I’m also challenged to stay in the zone once training ends and outside life resumes. I mentioned that I am waiting for this “click” moment where all the zen comes together and is my daily way of living and being. Where I am not just making an effort to practice my asanas (poses) every day, but where I am also making a daily effort to meditate, write in my journal and pretty much spend the time that is necessary with my mind, heart and spirit. I know I am much further along in my journey than I ever was before, but when you engage in something like a Yoga Teacher Training program, you begin to feel this sense of responsibility and accountability for really walking the walk that you are learning about. At least, I do. Yoga is all about balance, so I have to remember not to be hard on myself, but I do want to live, breathe and be the Yoga life…whatever that means for me.
A few days after the conversation with my friend, I was practicing Bakasana (crow pose) which is my physical challenge pose right now (hand/head stands are my fear-based challenge poses). Although I’d get “right” there with getting into it, I’d start thinking too hard about my hand and arm placement and I’d fall completely out of it. After a few attempts, I got frustrated, stood up and said to myself: “You’re not trusting yourself, Rachel!” And then I felt a click. I realized in that moment that not only am I not trusting my body, but I also struggle with trusting my “self.” The Rachel deep down who knows exactly what she wants for herself. I stopped practicing for a few moments to write that realization down and sit with it. I believe this was a huge moment of understanding for me.
That realization came back around today by way of the thoughts that were swimming around my head during my drive into work this morning. The thoughts ranged from matters of the heart to finding the time to start preparing for my Yoga teaching finals that are coming up in 3 short weeks, and everything else in between. I am still learning about the world of angels and spirit guides, but I believe in them, and so I spoke out loud to them, asking them to guide my heart, guide my spirit, guide my words, guide my path. But the key here is not just to ask, but to also be attuned to the responses and one came to me not too long after. I dropped off my son at school, got back in the car and as I resumed driving, I felt something in my spirit say, “You are meant to be doing the work of an energy healer.” Nothing more, nothing less. Just those words. Another click moment that helped me to better understand why I struggle with finding a good fit when I apply for new jobs. For years, I’ve looked for new opportunities up and down the East Coast between New York City and DC and nothing has panned out. For a while, I thought it was my cover letter and/or resume, but lately I’ve been wondering if it’s because I am not meant to be in a 9-5 role. I’ve heard this before from friends and my therapist, but it’s an understanding I’ve had to come to on my own. Now it’s just a matter of what I do with these revelations…
For now, the goal for me is to remain aware but also not be hard on myself for not making certain transitions overnight. The human in me wants immediate answers, but only because I’ve been searching for them for quite some time. The Yogi in me knows it’s important to reflect on how far I have come, and how each and every experience has led me to the present moment I am in now…and more so, to just stay in this moment.
In developing my understanding about spirit guides, I’ve learned about angel numbers and what they can mean for our lives. Without going into too much detail, 95 is a number that’s stood out to me lately and when I noticed it on a license plate this morning, I decided to look it up. The message is quite timely in that it deals with trusting your intuition and remaining steadfast on your path, as it will soon lead to fulfilling the mission of your soul. Check out this link for more: http://sacredscribesangelnumbers.blogspot.com/2011/07/angel-number-95.html .
My awakening is something that’s always been taking place, but I only recently started to become aware of. There is still so much more out there for me. I just have to remember to believe in Spirit, trust myself and always ask for…and be aware of…the click moments. Thank you for letting me share this one with you.
My time home from the car accident is beginning to wind down. In less than 2 weeks, I will be back to the routine of the early morning hustle and bustle; rushing my son, rushing myself and fighting traffic while desperately trying to make it in to the office at 9 AM on the dot, if not before. Then immediately beginning to feel unsettled for having to go through all of that to spend 8 hours at a job I have no passion for or fulfillment from. The routine will likely be the same as it always was. Yet I will be different. When I return to work, I will have been off for approximately 10 weeks. A lot of time, though now that it’s winding down, it feels like 10 minutes.
So much has happened since my car accident on June 5. I had a medical scare from the pain medicine that was prescribed to me. My boyfriend and I broke up for good. I got a new car. I checked an item off my bucket list when I went to a Coldplay concert. I did not go to Jamaica (a previously planned vacation with the now ex-boyfriend). I finally took yoga classes, instead of just doing yoga at home. I started the practice of meditating. I finally did a major makeover of my son’s bedroom, which propelled a major makeover of my condo as a whole. This much-needed project included getting a fish tank (with some fabulous fish) and, much to my surprise, was largely completed with the assistance of my ex-husband. Working together, we created a warm and loving space for our son in my home. We were able to find closure on many things through this time. I invested time with family and friends. I invested time in myself. Writing this out and looking back, I have to say I am pretty pleased with how I utilized this period in my life.
The first few weeks after the accident were precarious. I was rear-ended at a red light while on my way to work. My car had been totaled and I was written out of work to heal up. I suppose the timing couldn’t have been better since I was also already on the mend from having my heart broken as a result of my relationship ending. During those initial weeks, I ran through a gamut of emotions: hurt, sadness, anger, confusion, frustration, more anger, more hurt and feeling downright pissed about things that transpired from the breakup. Things that likely needed to happen. Things that I wanted to control, but absolutely couldn’t. I knew and know that one thing had nothing to do with the other, but at the time it felt like life and my boyfriend were both trying to kick me while I was down.
Although a very small part of me would love to punch the now-ex in the nose or have the classic movie moment of throwing a martini in his face, all of me is thankful for this shift. I think of it like staged dominos. When you tip the first one, it sets off a chain reaction of all the dominos being knocked down. My dominos are still in the process of falling. I acknowledge that I am in the thick of the shift and there is a ways to go before the process is “complete.” (I use quotations because our life processes are never really complete; they just transition into other processes). Those initial darker feelings have given way to a mindset of focusing more on the possibilities for my life. I have been on a search for what I call my “free” and I feel more determined than ever to change the aforementioned routine. I’m setting new goals for myself and I’m allowing myself to consider opportunities that I typically would be too fearful of considering.
This is not to say that the boyfriend held me back from anything. Now that enough time has passed for me to have a real perspective, I can admit that I was holding myself back. Especially because I was willing to settle for the comfort of our relationship as I knew it. I was happy to support him and us, while telling myself that my free would soon find me. In a nutshell, we broke up mostly because of his journey for his own free. Our relationship and his path couldn’t go hand in hand. Although I was angry and hurt about this at first, I began to see it as a wake-up call. In relationships, while at a job we don’t like, even with parenting and putting children first, we must never lose sight of our own individual journeys. Sometimes we discover or re-discover this on our own; sometimes things shift and we are re-directed. I was really unhappy with the way some things were going in my life. Now I am beginning to better understand that what is doesn’t have to be.
All of this was propelled by a car crash. Through the healing process, I have begun to crash into myself. I am starting to peel back the many layers of me. It’s scary and I continue to run through a gamut of emotions on any given day, but I am embracing it. There is no telling who I will be or where I will land once I come through the other side.
Just for good measure, I’m attaching Dave Matthews Band’s “Crash Into Me.” The lyrical content doesn’t exactly parallel with the content of this blog, but I was thinking of the song one day and realized the title was perfect for where I am in life right now. My cousin put me on to the “Live at Luther College” album and this has become my most favorite version of the song since.
Peace and Love.