Open Books: Power in Purpose and an Assertion of Truth

30 Jun

Last night I was struck with a bit of insomnia.  I was up and reading poetry, browsing through blogs and the sort which lead me to a guest post by Tamala Baldwin on Peace Love and Pretty Things.  Here is an excerpt of her post:

I came across a motivational video featuring Will Smith, and he said, when you are trying to build a wall, you don’t focus on the wall. You focus on laying one brick at a time, perfectly. So in times of doubt, fear and negative thinking, I stop thinking about the overall picture – the big impact – and hone in on laying my own brick for the day perfectly (source).

I loved how much of an open book Tamala was and contacted her immediately via various social media outlets, and we have been chatting back and forth. Our conversations reminded me of the purpose of this blog, as well as part of the purpose of my life. Being an open book is how I’ve been able to meet so many amazing people, learning so many priceless lessons, and get through the past few years.  Why are so many people afraid of sharing their stories?

I sit and think about how many people I know both personally and professionally who have been going through things that they never told anyone about until they were about to break.  By then its overwhelming and all you have is tear soaked pillows, restless nights, either insatiable or nonexistent hunger, and you feel close to surrendering to the misery of the world.  I just wish people spoke up before it got to that point.  I wish more people saw the power in truth, in saying it OUT LOUD to those around them and not being saddled by guilt, or shame.  I wish more people understood their purpose is not solely for themselves, the universe is patiently waiting for you to catch fire, and to spark a fire in others; you cannot do that as an island.


EVERYTHING from love

29 Jun

I am grateful to have been loved and to be loved now and to be able to love, because that liberates. Love liberates. It doesn’t just hold—that’s ego. Love liberates. It doesn’t bind. Love says, ‘I love you. I love you if you’re in China. I love you if you’re across town. I love you if you’re in Harlem. I love you. I would like to be near you. I’d like to have your arms around me. I’d like to hear your voice in my ear. But that’s not possible now, so I love you. Go.’ — Dr. Maya Angelou

My two favorite things are love and freedom.  I appreciate this quote so much because what I see is that they are one in the same.  I was watching Country Strong last night and at one point Gwenyth’s character Kelly said, “Don’t be afraid to fall in love, its the only thing that matters in life. Do you understand what I’m saying? Fall in love with many things.”   How novel, I thought.  To have the freedom to explore this world as thoroughly as you possibly can and to indulge the passion that calls you from each corner of existence.

The other night Deeds asked me what I believe in.  I said ‘truth’.  He said he didn’t think that ‘us’ would be apart of my answer.  I found that peculiar.  I wondered why then, if he didn’t think I believed in us, did he continue to stay with me?  He later said that it wasn’t that he didn’t think I believed in us, he simply thought that’s not how I would answer.  I think that the specifics of what I believe in may be ever changing, growing, and evolving due to my devotion to truth.  What was right for me at 21 is not right for me at 27, and what is right for me now may not be at 34.  I promise myself that I will never be too afraid to let things go that are no longer serving  to make me better.  Be it people, places, or things.

If you see me getting smaller, I’m leaving, don’t be grieving, just gotta get away from here. If you see me getting smaller, don’t worry, and no hurry, I’ve got the right to disappear.~Kelly Canter (Country Strong)

I hated what happened to Kelly in that movie.  I saw it coming.  When she spoke of the stars.  I have to say that it was excellently portrayed because I saw the longing and the romanticism of the freedom that “living on a star” promised.  I see it, I saw it in my clients, I’ve had that look myself.  I think now that I understand  life and love a little bit more I see that we don’t have to die to be free, we just have to let this world go.  Isn’t that essentially what suicide is?

So I’m learning to let go of this world.  The more I let it go the more heaven moves into my heart, and the closer I get to living on my own star.  I realize I must operate in and apart of society, but I answer and am responsible to a higher power.  One that regards love and not power (or respect or success or fame or physical stamina or sexuality etc) as the guiding light.

The more people I meet that are like me (and there have been a lot recently, I questioned aloud whether the universe was preparing for something as so many of the free have been appearing to one another, then laughed because if I felt it was true then of course it was. Of course something is coming) the more I hear “let go”.  It’s like God is sending angels that whisper to everyone, but most are too concerned with the buzz of life to hear it.  So he sent natural disasters, he sent a financial crisis, he sent famine and poverty so that we can let go of what we think we know, of what we think is important and be HERE in the now and take care of one another.  Love one another, and not in a promise, but in this now and present moment.

It’s no secret that the ocean is my healing place, and seeing as how I now reside by the sea I am excited to see why I have been called there.  What is in store for me here, and what do I have to bring to it?  Whose angel has he been preparing me to be? Do you ever ask yourself that?

The Truth about Truth

22 May
  1. Be Present
  2. Tell the truth
  3. Let go of the consequences of telling the truth

I will carry with me these lessons for as long as I live, because with them comes a profound sense of freedom and power.  They fit together to give you everything you need to get through.  Consider the first, be present.  You have to be in the now to know what’s going on.  Being present can be especially hard when times are tough.  We tend not to like pain, discomfort, hurt, loneliness, anger, etc. but get used to it.  Don’t make it your home, but acknowledge its existence and its current presence in you.  Do not be afraid to say “I’m scared,” or “I’m lonely,” if you are, then you are.  Until you acknowledge it you can’t begin to change it.

Tell the truth.  Whatever it is, if its true for you at this moment this it is the truth and it deserves attention.  Sometimes we berate ourselves and tell ourselves that we shouldn’t be sad/angry/hurt, but you are!  It does not mean you have to stay that way.  In a relationship sometimes we feel some of our concerns are minuscule or trifles, but no! If we feel it then it is worth addressing.  Tell the truth, and start by telling it to yourself.

Let go of the consequences of telling the truth because you can’t control things.  You can not control life.  Things work as they should, not as we would have them, sometimes the two align, sometimes they don’t.  If someone gets upset  by you telling the truth. SO WHAT. Sit with that feeling, and explore it.  Are you regretting telling the truth, or are you simply upset someone is hurting because of it? Its okay to feel sympathy, but don’t apologize for speaking your truth.  I say things in my blogs all the time that are my personal truths.  Sometimes friends and/or family read it and take offense to it, and I tell them I’m sorry you were hurt by what I said, malice is never my intent.  But I never apologize for writing.  This place is essentially where I talk to myself out loud for the world to hear, and I will not apologize for it.  Let go of consequence.

The truth about truth is its addictive.  Once you get a taste of it, you want more.  You seek it out in yourself and you seek it out in other people.  You want to acknowledge it whenever you can because it feels so good to just be honest.

Keeping what’s yours

2 May

Things happen. Things that are often beyond our control. Things that can hurt, things that can harm, things that bring sadness into our lives and the lives of our loved ones. What are we supposed to do with all those things we don’t want?
Saturday afternoon I was over the moon elated; graduation was but a mere week away, my plans were set firmly in place and I now had everything that I needed for the following weekend. Saturday night, however, here come the things. Bad things came, and invited over their friends worrysome things who showed up with irrational things. None of which were welcomed in my home, so what did I do? I chose not to entertain them. I’m not sure if this is what some people might refer to as having victory over a situation or not, but I feel victorious. Being an emotional person and a being that cares very deeply about…well everyone, I usually ingest other people’s hurt. I take in the bad things and all their +1s allowing my happiness to play host to destruction. No more. Yesterday I kept repeating my mantra: “Breathe. Yield to God, always. Answer with love. Remember your purpose is written, as are all things.” Over and over again I said these words and took deep breaths, exhaling out every Thing I did not claim as my own.
I am not numb to the hurt, I feel it, but I refuse to take refuge in it. Where would my joy go? Would I give away my smile to appease a tear? Not when that tear does not belong to me. The Things that happened, they are not my Things and I, for once in my life, did not let them become mine. There’s a line in Ntozake Shange’s chorepoem For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Was Enough that says “now you cant have me less i give me away”. I believe that to be something of a gospel. A warning to all the Things.
I am mine.

Happiness is free

21 Apr

The answer to your sh*t is not more sh*t. That’s about as clear as I could get my message to the average American. All my social commentary “dirt” was kicked up when I read this post over at Peace Love and Pretty Things this morning:

Our culture is hungry for spirituality. We are beginning to understand that consumerism isn’t going to fill the emptiness inside. We can cover it up, dress it up, or ignore it, but at some point we have to address it: the things of this world are unsatisfying. Children grow up. Spouses and loved ones disappoint. Cars lose value. A chair is just a chair, and a house is not a home.

We yearn for something deeper. We yearn for something more substantive. We yearn for that which can only be whispered, never fully known. We yearn for God (Source…and to continue reading this WONDERFUL article)

Incidentally after I read this article and I was all stirred my mind went immediately to Kanye West.  I really and truly believe he is an artistic genius.  Anyway, in his song “All Falls Down” he states the following truth:

We buy our way out of jail, but we can’t buy freedom
We’ll buy a lot of clothes when we don’t really need em
Things we buy to cover up what’s inside
Cause they make us hate ourself and love they wealth
That’s why shortys hollering “where the ballas’ at?”
Drug dealer buy Jordans, crackhead buy crack
And a white man get paid off of all of that
But I ain’t even gon act holier than thou
Cause fuck it, I went to Jacob with 25 thou
Before I had a house and I’d do it again
Cause I wanna be on 106 and Park pushing a Benz
I wanna act ballerific like it’s all terrific
I got a couple past due bills, I won’t get specific
I got a problem with spending before I get it
We all self conscious I’m just the first to admit it

The conclusion I came to is that in my lifetime, if I do nothing else I want to spread the gospel that happiness is free, and it is (as I’ve been told) an inside job.  I don’t blame white people, sorry Ye, I blame all of us. We have all succumbed to the hypnotic trend of materialism and mediocrity.  No one wants to stand out, and every one wants to be great, tell me how you achieve one without the other? We are in the middle of a great spiritual war.  The “catastrophe”  that is predicted in the Mayan calendar says that in 2012 the world will endure an Apocalypse. I hope it does. Apocalypse means the veil will be lifted, literally.  Please God, let the veil be lifted and let people begin to honor the divinity within us instead of worshiping the faux deity of materialism.  I hope 2012 brings about an exorcism.  Anything for people to just wake up, be present, and not be fearful of our own greatness.  THAT is happiness.

Black don’t crack

20 Apr

We’ve all heard the expression before, “Black don’t crack!” Meaning that black women do not get wrinkles, creases, or laugh lines. Some of us carry that expression as our only form of skin care, and some of us know better. I’m a big fan of make-up and am a sucker for a fancy designer counter brand, when it comes to skin care, however, I keep it really simple: Dove bar and Argan oil to moisturize. What I’ve learned though, is that good skin (as with most things) starts from the inside out!

According to the article Good Food, Good Skin:

Perhaps the simplest way to maintain a healthy, balanced diet and ensure the skin is getting optimal nutrition from the foods we eat is to follow the recommendations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Daily Food Guide, commonly referred to as the food pyramid.

These include:

* Choosing and eating at least three ounces of whole grain breads, cereals, rice, crackers or pasta.
* Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, including more dark green and orange vegetables.
* Consuming calcium-rich foods, such as fat-free or low-fat milk and other dairy products.
* Opting for a variety of low-fat or lean meats, poultry and fish.

“The foods recommended by the USDA as part of a healthy diet contain valuable vitamins and minerals that have proven health benefits for our bodies,” said Dr. Taylor. “Research has shown that the antioxidants in vitamins C and E can protect the skin from sun damage and help reduce damage in skin cells caused by harmful free radicals, which contribute to aging skin. Similarly, we have long known that the B vitamin biotin is responsible for forming the basis of skin, hair and nail cells, and vitamin A – found in many fruits and vegetables – maintains and repairs skin tissue. Without an adequate supply of these vitamins, you may notice it in the appearance of your skin, hair and nails.”

While the direct link between food consumption and skin damage has not been widely studied, one study comparing the correlation between food and nutrient intake with skin wrinkling found a positive relationship. The study, “Skin Wrinkling: Can Food Make a Difference?”, published in the February 2001 issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, determined that Swedish subjects aged 70 and older had the least skin wrinkling in a sun-exposed site among the four ethnic groups studied. This cross-sectional study, which analyzed the pooled data using the major food groups, suggests “that subjects with a higher intake of vegetables, olive oil, and monounsaturated fat and legumes, but a lower intake of milk/dairy products, butter, margarine and sugar products had less skin wrinkling in a sun-exposed site.” (source)

I know many women that take a multivitamin or even prenatal vitamins to grow their hair and nails, and maintain healthy skin. Biotin is also a supplement of choice, along with Vitamin E or Vitamin B6. Three Fat Chicks on a Diet also have an extensive list as to what vitamin supplements, or foods will help keep you looking youthful!

What is your skin care regime??

Inspiration and Infinity

18 Apr

Lately I’ve had a sort of love affair with dandelions. They have become symbolic for both the most beautiful and the most terrifying things in life; possibilities. I remember being a kid and thinking they were the most beautiful things, up until someone told me they were weeds. Disgusting that someone’s bitter “reality” has to taint a child’s vision.

I had lunch with a friend of mine recently and in speaking at the time quite literally she said, “I’m afraid to dream.” It felt like a thunder clap went off in my head. I was blown away at the depth of such a statement, that I had to redirect our conversation back to it. I called her attention back to what I felt was monumentally insightful, but I’m not sure she saw it the same way. It stayed with me all weekend and nagged me enough to where I finally had to write about it…being afraid to dream. For many of us, self included at some point in time, there is nothing more scary than possibility. To say it out loud doesn’t it sound like such a silly thing?

What if I fail? (What if you succeed?)

What if my heart gets broken? (What if you fall in love?)

What if I hate it? (What if you don’t?)

We talk ourselves out of the most beautiful journeys by siding with fear and doubt. I see us as dandelions. We are filled with possibility and if we ignore the world (who believes us to be weeds) and go with the wind, we find ourselves in the most beautiful of places, experiencing the most amazing things. I am not responsible for living up to other people’s expectations of me. When I find myself saying “I can’t” I make myself answer “Why not.” Who says? Who is setting the rules for my life? If it is anyone other than me, then they’re wrong. And what if it is me? What if I am limiting myself ? I’ll tell you this much…being “realistic” is the quickest road to mediocrity I know.

At one point in my life, I too was afraid to dream. I was terrified of the things that I was capable of, and of what people would think of me, what family would think of me, and of failure. Something funny happened when I stopped entertaining doubt; I am not sure if things stopped being so scary, or if I simply got braver, but I will say that things have unfolded quite nicely.

So my message to you, whomever comes across these words today, tomorow and the next day is to live your life limitless. Do not be afraid to dream because that is where brilliance is conceived. Someone fabulous once said, “I constantly remind myself that in order to be who I am called to be I have to let go of who I think I am.” My friend (another friend from lunch) affirmed that. There is no prototype for success, or guideline of perfection. We define those, and if you don’t fit into your own definition then CHANGE IT! The power we have over our own lives is astounding, and we choose to ignore it because then that would mean accepting the fact that we are also responsible for our own misery. You do not have to be miserable. Nothing is stopping you except for you.