Dear Woman…

I have been thinking a lot on self-worth lately. Particularly when it comes to relationship spaces. I struggled with posting this at first, because I don’t want to seem like I’m pushing a subliminal message to someone, nor do I personally want to put out “I’m good by my damn self” energy to the Universe when I know my heart desires true companionship.                                                                    

But this is not putting out that energy. This is more a declaration of understanding who I am. My value. My worth. As a human. As a woman. And it’s been weighing on my heart to share this message. For so many years, I was more willing to remove my crown than I was to walk away from situations that weren’t healthy. Hell, there were days where I couldn’t even recognize that I was wearing a crown. Yes, I was loved growing up. But it was just my plight to try and fill myself up with love from the outside. It has only been in my later 30s that I finally started seeking, learning, and truly understanding real love that comes from within. I’m 38 and I’m learning to be ok with uncomfortable conversations where, in the end, the conversations are based on defining my worth and choosing me. I’m not perfect and I know I’m not. I’m strong in will and mind. I can be stubborn. I have an opinion. An educated one at that. I’m passionate. I’m intense. I’m a Scorpio woman. I’m emotional. But I damn sure am worthy.

Honor your self. Accept who you are – the good stuff and the rough edges. Choose you. Decide who and what is worth your time and energy. Learn when to stay and when to walk away. And this is not just in relationships, but in Life. Wear your crown proudly and be the Queen you are. I myself am learning to get more comfy with my own.


Thoughts on the Journey

Acknowledging my fears.

Procrastination.

Understanding self-worth.

Embracing self-worth.

Defining self-worth.

Uncomfortable conversations.

Speaking my truth.

Standing in my truth.

Learning my truth.

Finding purpose.

Living purpose. 

Let it go.

Choosing me.

Heart-felt desires.

I don’t know. 

Keep moving forward.

In spite of…Keep loving.

Following my heart…


What Are You?

As an interracial woman, I have often been asked the question, “What are you?” A running joke between me and my mixed comrades. I remember telling a social media friend once that I’m going to respond “an alien” the next time I get that question. I am not offended by people asking. I am often curious about people’s backgrounds myself. But the joke is in the “what,” as though I am not human. That is what I am. A human. A woman who is very much still trying to find her place in this world. 

At 37 years-old, I continue to grapple with the question of not what am I, but who am I? This year of 2015 has been a very defining one for me. The biggest thing that happened occurred when I decided to take a leap of faith and leave my corporate job after 15 years of being in the professional workforce. I am focusing more on teaching Yoga and aligning myself with my purpose, which I know, above all things, is based in service to humanity. Leaving a corporate job, especially with not a lot of money saved nor a real plan outside of honoring an internal calling, is quite scary. More than anything else, it will show a person how they have defined themselves within a box. What’s scary is learning to think and live outside of that box. 

In many ways, I have pushed past boundaries that were either self-defined or created by others. This mainly relates to my spiritual journey, where I was raised as a Baptist but explored Islam in my 20s, ultimately deciding to convert and be a practicing Muslim for two years. From there it was Yoga and a completely new spiritual path opened up for me. I pull Angel cards and believe in Angel therapy. I consult with spirit guides, although I don’t know exactly who my guides are outside of some who have transitioned from this life and who I feel are with me. I light Palo Santo sticks and sit in front of my meditation altar when I write in my journal. I believe in Universal law. My present spiritual station is not one that is defined by religion, but after years of continuos seeking, I feel closer in my relationship with God than I have ever felt. It is not easy embracing such a path when you’re the only one in your Christian family who is doing so, but I am proud of myself for honoring the course that continues to be laid in front of me. Through all my years of constant seeking and asking questions, I was looking for a space where I fit. And when I sit cross-legged in front of my altar with my incense burning, I realize I have found that space. But the question of “who am I?” still remains. The following is what comes to mind.

I am a hippie girl and a Black revolutionary. I love people. I love my people. My vibe tribe scattered throughout the world, sharing their love and light and gifts with others. Helping to create a better, more humanistic global society. I am my maternal family. My mother. My grandmother. My aunts. My brothers, uncles, nephews, nieces and cousins. All shades of brown. Rooted with history in Texas, with an extension in New York and New Jersey by way of my mother. I am proud of my mother’s heritage. My Black heritage. 

I honor my father. His family with European roots and scattered throughout New York, the Midwest, Pennsylvania, California and now Tennessee. I have less of a connection to these roots, but an unbreakable bond with my father and the stepmother and stepbrother he brought into my life. It was in this world where I learned of Bob Marley, The Beatles, The Eagles, Bluegrass music, Classical music. Woodstock. Politics. Peace. Hope. Yoga. This world shaped my ideals and some of the core principles of who I am. 

Combined together, the love my mother and father once shared resulted in my existence. And with it came the elements that would open me to my world vibe tribe. It is all Love. It is all connection. It is all me. Who I am. A balance I am learning to embrace. An awakening and understanding that makes me feel a most subtle sense of peace and happiness

I have often tried to define myself as one of these things. A conditioned way of thinking that comes from living inside the box. But as I continue to grow and make choices that are more authentic and based in how I emotionally, physically and spiritually respond to things, I learn that I don’t have to be just one of these things. I am the sum of all my parts. Parts that I am learning are wild and beautiful. I am feeling myself living more and more on purpose. 

I am finding the one thing I have been always searching for. I am finding me. 

That is what I am. Human Me. Feeling and being free to be exactly who I am. 

Namaste. 


Intentions

My Soul Mate. My Companion. My Life Partner. The One with whom I share the most intimate love.

You accept me for who I am. Quirky. Questioning. Talkative. Sensitive. Emotional. Energetic. Passionate. Wild. Free.

You accept my moments of co-dependency. You let me be when I choose to withdraw.

You support my Yoga. My dreams.

You understand my quest for peace, but calm me when I get anxious. Worried. Fearful. Some of the things I try to work through every day.

You call me at random times. Ask me on random lunch dates. Share my dream to travel. To create. To have a family.

You hold nothing back in loving me, and allow me to love you in return.

You love my son as if he were your own.

You encourage me to always love myself.

You accept my irrational moments. My moments of run-ins with my family. My debts. My mistakes from the past. My hopes for the future. My journey of trying to live in the every day present.

We love. We laugh. We live. We are.

Because we allow each other to be.

From the author: I was thinking of love today and how I’d like it to show up in my life. It took many years of living, learning and being “in love,” to truly understand that more than anything else, you have to be and let be. I decided to write the words down as a vision. Intentions I am putting into the Universe. Love self. Love others. And allow yourself to receive love in return. 

Namaste.


The Journey to Self-Love

“To love a person is to learn the song that is in their heart and to sing it to them when they have forgotten.”

I came across this quote yesterday and found it to be quite beautiful. I am a true lover of love and these kinds of words just speak to me. But as I spent time in front of my meditation altar this morning and reflected on what I like to call “my heart space situations,” I reflected on this quote and had a simple but seemingly profound realization. While it’s important to know the songs of those you love, it’s more important to know the song that lives in your own heart. What is it that makes you sing? In other words, before you can fully love another, it’s important to love yourself first and foremost.

The road to self-love is not an easy one. In my 20s, I always thought as soon as I’d hit my 30s, this feeling would take over and I would simply fall in love with me. I will be turning 37 in just a few days, and I can firmly say that has not happened. Instead, it’s been about experiencing the highs and lows of life and learning from how it has all shaped me.

I have always been a seeker. I’ve explored different religions and I’ve always wanted to find a place of peace within myself and know what my life’s higher purpose is. In that way, I have always been on the journey of self-love. But it’s the work I have been doing over this past year that has really put me on the path. One of the most significant lessons I have learned during this course of time is summed up in one word: Non-attachment. I have often heard of why we shouldn’t be attached, but it took me a long while to finally and fully grasp this concept. When it comes to me, I have learned that I attached my happiness to people, things and circumstances I have no control over. By doing so, I put myself in the front seat of an emotional roller coaster. When the things I was attached to were going well, I was happy. When they were not so great, I was down. And when things are down, you feel like you are suffering.  Attachment is the foundation of suffering. But as my Yoga teacher always told us during my Yoga teacher training program, “If suffering can be avoided, it should be avoided.” Over the course of this past year, I have learned not to get too caught up in the high moments of life, and not to get too down during the low points. It’s about trying to find and maintain the balance between it all.

Life situations happen that can make it easier said than done to simply detach yourself. I know this firsthand and often find there are days when I’ve made great strides, and days where I feel like I’ve taken ten steps back. On the good days, I allow myself to celebrate the small victories but I also remind myself that a more challenging day can be just around the corner. And when the challenging days happen, I remind myself that I am still a good person and I am still on the course. It can be a hop, skip and a jump into absolute despair if we are too hard on ourselves during moments that seem like personal setbacks. We fall in love with people who don’t have the capacity to receive love and/or love us in return, or who simply are not in a space to act on that love. We are in jobs where we feel that if the people we work with or the job itself would change, we would be happier. We often feel like we are stuck in life, with no options for things to get better. We feel like that one thing that will make us truly happy is an arm’s length away; something you can see, but just can’t touch. I believe – or at least, I have learned – that loving yourself is knowing life will go on if that person you love doesn’t love you back, or you can find a new job or take the time to finally explore something you’ve always been interested in and seeing how it opens up new doors for you. It’s about knowing the song that lives in your heart and singing it to yourself when you have forgotten.

Before we can ask anyone else to love us and meet whatever our personal needs are, we have to know within ourselves what it is that makes us happy. What makes us sad? What can you learn to live with? What is it that you can’t seem to live without? Looking back on my life’s journey so far, I realize I placed expectations on other people by making them answer those questions that I ultimately had to learn to answer for myself. It’s taken me this past year of choosing not to date, of choosing to spend quality time with myself, of choosing to do the work of looking within. At almost 37 years-old and wanting companionship and more children, it admittedly is a little scary (to me) to make a conscious choice not to be in a relationship with anyone. But through meditation, Yoga and seeking counsel from my spiritual circle of trust, I have learned to be at peace with what is not and better accept what is. There is a future I want for myself, but I have had to learn not to attach myself to that specified future being the outcome. Instead, I have made a conscious effort to focus on continually refining what my life’s purpose is and the work I need to do in this world. I have often heard that when you learn to fall in love with yourself, everything you desire in your heart will begin to attract itself to you. I am learning my song. More importantly, I am learning to sing it to myself.

I wish you peace, love and light on your journey towards self-love.

Namaste.


February 14

I’m a pretty emotional and sentimental person, but I’ve never gotten too crazy over Valentine’s Day. Well, maybe in my teens and 20s if I was in a relationship at the time. But as I’ve grown and matured, and gotten more in touch with my emotions, I have found that I see Valentine’s Day as a special day, but also just another day.

Perhaps this is a coping mechanism, as I haven’t been in a relationship on Valentine’s Day in quite a while. When I was in one 2 or 3 years back, the person I was with didn’t make a big deal of it either and I just rolled with it. Don’t get me wrong, I love to receive flowers at work and I wouldn’t reject a Valentine’s delivery, but I’m more of a, “I sent you flowers just because it’s Wednesday” kind of girl.

My perspective on this day is personally interesting. I am reflecting on how for so long, and I mean years, I strongly desired to be in a relationship and almost felt undefined without one. And now, here I am, homebound with my 6 year-old son for a second day due to a snowstorm. Outside of work, I don’t have any plans for this day. I have no expectations for a delivery to come to my door. I know that when I check my social media outlets later, they will be flooded with “look at what I got!” pictures. And yet, I’m content. Instead of being sad or forlorn about the relationship I don’t have, I’m grateful for what I do have. And that is a day at home with my son. Another day I was given not to make the hour-long, traffic-filled drive to and from work. Another day to save money. Another day to not have to rush. And to top it off, Monday is a holiday, so there is more time to look forward to. The hottest date I have planned for this weekend is taking my son to see the new Lego movie he’s been asking me about. And I’m okay with that.

This is not an anti-Valentine’s Day manifesto, nor am I writing out of bitterness from not being in a relationship. I absolutely love love and I’m sure if I were in a relationship, I’d be making some kind of plan for the night or weekend. I just felt the urge to write “Happy Valentine’s Day” to my readers and as I started typing, more words came to mind. That’s how this writing process is for me at times.

I do still desire to have and share true companionship and a partnership one day. But one of the most valuable lessons I have learned along this journey of mine, is not to fight against the current and instead, do my best to go with the flow. After my last relationship, I fell into a space where I became my top priority and I feel I am very much still a work in progress. We always are in a way, but it’s more about feeling a sense of peace deep within. I believe that when I feel completely at ease with who I am and what my purpose is, everything else will fall into place. Some days are certainly harder than others, but I do my best to remind myself of honoring the current space I’m in. I know it’s the relationship with my self that needs the most nurturing right now.

If you do feel a little down today, know that it’s okay. Allow yourself to feel what you feel. Each and every day is different and sometimes, you just don’t know how you’ll handle it. But try not to get stuck. Focus on changing your thinking and reflecting on something positive. The smallest shift can make the biggest difference. I am making baby steps with this, but everyday, I learn a little more about the importance of controlling our thoughts. They are the roots of what manifests in our life.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Loves. Namaste.


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.


Phenomenal Woman

“Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.”
(~Maya Angelou)

It is with a heavy heart that I dedicate this poem to my Godmother. A most Phenomenal Woman who saw, nurtured and helped to shape the light within me. She is the driving and inspirational force behind my journey as a writer. I will miss her dearly and deeply.

More to come when my heart has been lifted. But in the meantime, love hard, love often, love without limitation. As my Godmother once told me: “Take time to love and be loved. It is a God-given gift.”


Ahimsa

Tree of Life Prayer BeadsWhen I first came to my Yoga mat, I came under the impression that Yoga was simply the physical movements that many of us are used to seeing. Enrolling in a Yoga teacher training program years after practicing with my first at-home DVD, I have quickly learned that the poses are just part of a larger path. There are actually 8 limbs of Yoga, of which asanas (the poses) are one.

Two of those limbs are the Yamas and Niyamas. “Yamas” are moral observances; our guiding principles for how we deal with others. “Niyamas” are our personal observances; the principles of how we deal with ourselves. There are 5 principles both for Yamas and Niyamas. For the purpose of this particular blog post, I am going to focus on one of the Yamas: Ahimsa. Ahimsa is Sanskrit for compassion – showing kindness and non-violence to all living things.

I am by no means a perfect person, but I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I was already incorporating some of the Yamas and Niyamas in my life before I ever knew or even heard of them. Compassion has always been one of my guiding principles. And when my son was born almost 6 years ago, I knew without a doubt that of all the things I could teach him, what would be most important is showing him how to be kind to others.

When I was pregnant and found out I was having a boy, I admittedly cried for a day or so. I am the baby sister of 5 older brothers (between both of my parents’ first marriages) and I really, really, really wanted a girl so that I could complete the trifecta of my mother, me and my baby girl (yes, I actually did think this). Although my brothers had mostly girls between them and the family was actually lacking for boys, I wanted to add my girl to the bunch.

I always had to tag along for my one brother’s high school and college football games. Every Sunday, I had to sacrifice my cartoons or a show I was watching for whatever seasonal sporting event was on. While I had grown up surrounded by testosterone, I didn’t think I’d have a clue of how to raise a boy. Sure, my then-husband would help, but by time baby boy was born, I knew our marriage was on its last leg. I became a single mother before my son turned 2 years-old and as the primary parent, most of what he would learn would come from me. Like many parents of little boys, I want my son to be strong, confident and have some athletic prowess. I long ago accepted that I would not be able to teach him how to be a man, but I certainly could teach him how to be a kind and decent human being. And that has been my mission.

My message of compassion seems to be paying off. My son genuinely shows concern when someone is hurt or crying. When I have my own life moments that I am unable to hide from him, he always comes to me with his favorite toy or stuffed animal and tells me they can sleep with me in my bed so I’ll feel better. There is a little girl in his school who is visually impaired, and while it may take a little nudging from me, because he notices something “different” about her, he makes a point to speak to her and play with her when the other kids stay away. I see the kindness in him, as have friends of mine. While he is a little boy, I am always conscious of the fact that I am raising a man. One day, he will go into the world with the values I’ve instilled in him and learn how to balance that with the values he develops on his own.

Today I came across a Huffington Post article about the things every mother should do for their sons. The article was written in light of a sexual assault of a teenage girl that occurred in Steubenville, Ohio last August. The author suggests that we, as society and parents, help to create a culture of such violent acts, especially by pushing our boys to be “tough guys.” We praise athletes and athleticism, while encouraging our girls to be demure and supportive. It is the author’s belief that certain measures can be taken to avoid another Steubenville. The first of her suggestions is to teach our boys to be kind and to teach them this as early as possible. Being that kindness is something I’ve been working to instill in my son since birth, I wholeheartedly agree.

I continued to think about the article long after I read it. I thought about how some parents and people are of the belief that boys shouldn’t be showered with hugs and kisses because it will make them “soft,” while doing so for girls is acceptable. We tend to focus on the fact that our daughters need to see and receive love at a young age, so they will know what it should look and feel like when they begin to engage in relationships. And it’s not to say that we shouldn’t focus on this, but what about our boys? I don’t necessarily want my son to be a “mama’s boy,” but I have no shame in hugging him, kissing him and telling him I love him multiple times a day. I may make him wipe his tears right away when he falls, but I want him to be comfortable with love. I have had enough of my own relationships with emotionally limited men to know and believe that, for the most part, they did not receive enough affection while growing up. I can admit there was also likely something within me that attracted these types of men, but reading the Huffington Post article confirmed my personal conviction. We teach our daughters how to give love and be dutiful partners, while we teach our sons to be the protectors. I am not against this, but I think we should also teach our sons how to receive love. Sure, some of the discomfort with love may be a nature thing for boys and men, but I believe nurturing plays a big part as well. I say show them the beauty of love to the best of our abilities, so they will be better aware of treating love as a gift that should not be abused or taken for granted.

Being that the Yoga teacher training is a huge aspect of my life right now and being that I am a single mother, my son pretty much doesn’t have a choice but to take this journey with me. He doesn’t attend classes with me, but he is impacted by the time I invest in the training program. It can be hard at times, because my particular program is a weekend-based one. I work a full-time job during the week and then for 2 full weekends out of a month, for the next 6 months, I am in training. Add on to that a job that requires travel and our time together can really be limited. But I know I must see this through and I try to include him by doing Yoga with him at home and teaching him a few asanas he can do on his own. In the end though, I know the most important thing is to continue teaching him about Ahimsa. He is already practicing this Yama in his life. And just like his mother, he doesn’t even know it. Yet.

Namaste.


Being a Spiritual Warrior

When I first started this blog a little over a year ago, I had no real idea of what I was going to write about on a continuous basis. I’d just been told more often than not that I am a “great” writer (I quote that because it’s what others have actually said; it is not what I say about myself) and my testimonies could be of value to others; women, in particular. As with many other things in my life, I was hesitant to take the first step because I could not see beyond it. I wasn’t sure of how I would continually be able to come up with something to write and share. Although I don’t consider myself a fearful person per se, I admittedly have fears when I cannot see beyond what is immediately in front of me. And since life is all about not seeing past what is in front of us, I’m sure you can imagine what it must be like living inside of my head. There is an internal battle where the fearless side of me says, “just do it!” and the hesitant side of me says, “but wait, what if….?” Those “what ifs” have been and continue to be my worst enemy at times.

Yet, take the first step I did and my humble blog, while it still has no real direction just yet, seems to be developing into the tool that others thought it could be. I don’t have many followers, but the ones who do keep up with what I write seem to be impacted, or at least moved, by the words I share. During the days or weeks when I don’t write, I tend to be hard on myself and think that I am failing myself and my readers. But I also believe that I cannot write if the spirit doesn’t move me. In honoring what this blog is supposed to be about, I feel it is counter to try to force words into being. At times, I have had the idea of sharing words that inspire me when I am at a loss for sharing my own. Even if this means only sharing a one or two sentence reflection that moves me. I just haven’t gotten around to that though. Until today.

One book that I try to read on a daily basis is Mark Nepo’s “The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.” This gem found its way into my life last summer and I have easily fallen in love with the gentle reminders Nepo gives us through his daily reflections. Some days I simply feel good about taking the time to read a reflection, and some days, I feel like Nepo has written directly to me and whatever situation I may be going through at the moment. When I haven’t read my reflections over the course of a few days, I try to discipline myself to read each reflection I missed. Today was one of those days, and although the current date is Tuesday, February 19, it is the reflection from February 15 that stood out to me and immediately made me want to write this blog. This particular excerpt resonated with me the most:

“Being a Spiritual Warrior” (February 15)

“Life is hard enough without viewing all our pain as evidence of some basic insufficiency we must endure.

There is a beautiful Tibetan myth that helps us to accept our sadness as a threshold to all that is life-changing and lasting. This myth affirms that all spiritual warriors have a broken heart – alas, must have a broken heart – because it is only through the break that the wonder and mysteries of life can enter us.

So what does it mean to be a spiritual warrior? It is far from being a soldier, but more the sincerity with which a soul faces itself  in a daily way. It is this courage to be authentic that keeps us strong enough to withstand the heartbreak through which enlightenment can occur. And it is by honoring how life comes through us that we get the most out of living, not by keeping ourselves out of the way. The goal is to mix our hands in the earth, not to stay clean.”

I absolutely love the line, “…but more the sincerity with which a soul faces itself in a daily way.” I believe facing my soul is exactly where I am at this juncture of my life’s journey. Reading this automatically made me think of another book from another favorite author: Paulo Coelho’s “Warrior of the Light.” Although not written from a daily perspective, “Warrior of the Light” is a book that also provides firm reminders for us to remain steadfast in the pursuit of identifying, honoring and living out our dreams. I read Coelho’s “The Alchemist” straight through, but I have personally found “Warrior of the Light” to be a book that I pick up whenever my spirit feels moved to. When I do, I inevitably always read something that speaks directly to my heart. I did a Google search of some of the quotes from the book and thought I would share some of my favorites. There may be one or two that resonate with you:

” ‘I’ve been through all this before,’ he says to his heart. ‘Yes, you have been through all this before,’ replies his heart. ‘But you have never been beyond it.’ ”

“He might dance down the street on his way to work, gaze into the eyes of a complete stranger and speak of love at first sight, or defend an apparently absurd idea. Warriors of light allow themselves days like these.”

“He is not afraid to weep over ancient sorrows or feel joy at new discoveries. When he feels that the moment has arrived, he drops everything and goes off on some long-dreamed-of adventure. When he realizes that he can do no more, he abandons the fight, but never blames himself for having committed a few unexpected acts of folly.”

“A warrior does not spend his days trying to play the role that others have chosen for him.”

“It is your blessing, the path God has chosen for you here on Earth. Whenever a man does that which gives him enthusiasm, he is following his Legend. However, not everyone has the courage to face up to his own dreams.”

And this one reminds me of how I feel about my journey in Love:

“After accepting love as a stimulus, a man faces the third obstacle: the fear of the defeats he will encounter along the way. A man who fights for his dream suffers far more when something doesn’t go well, because he cannot use the famous excuse: “oh, well in fact that wasn’t exactly what I wanted anyway… ” He does want it, and knows he is putting everything into it, and also that the Personal Legend is just as difficult as any other path – the difference being that your heart is present on this journey. So, a warrior of the light must be prepared to be patient at difficult times, and know that the Universe is conspiring in his favor, even if he does not understand how.”

Patience at difficult times and peace in knowing the Universe is conspiring in my favor, even it feels otherwise. I love and honor this reminder.

To all of my fellow Spiritual Warriors, I wish you patience, peace and love on your journeys. The Universe is conspiring in our favor.

Namaste.