Self-love Ain't Easy

Self love ain't easy

Self love and self care have become the new buzz word for harried women trying to take care of themselves in a crazy mixed up world.

The terms have become marketer's new way to sell us more things we don't need and the message that we aren't enough. Self love has been painted in this technicolor haze of bubble baths and yoga mats. There often are pictures of the hard shit you had to do over and over again to make it to your yoga mat.

Self love is doing the hard shit because it's what's best for you and you love yourself enough to go through the fire.

 Self love is getting up at 5:30 in the morning when you are not a morning person because it is the only time you can surrender your pain to your yoga mat.

 Self love is going vegan when you love hamburgers because it is the best medicine to fight your battle against breast cancer.

 Self love is leaving your husband, not because the marriage is bad but because it just isn't right.

 Self love is saying no to family gathering because they always leave you raw and broken.

 Self love is telling the world to piss off because you love every curve, bruise and bump on your body.

 Self love is whispering sweet nothings and sending love letters to yourself when you don't, yet, believe what they say.

 Self love ain't easy but it is necessary, revolutionary and worth the struggle.

Listening to your pinky finger

It's hard to calm down when you aren't aware of your body. Yes, we are all aware, in a big sense of our bodies but how often during the day do we go into autopilot and become lost to everything around us including our bodies. We can't even remember how we got from one place to another. Have you ever paid any attention to your toenail unless it was hurting? Well, what we need most to handle the daily avalanche of emotions is presence.  If we aren't present in our bodies we can't control them on a cellular or energetic level. Today, we are going to focus on finding that sweet spot.

I want you to pick a body part that you normally don't pay much attention. For example, the fingernail of your 3rd finger on your left hand or the inside of your nose. Have you picked a part? Okay, now spend the next minute thinking about your chosen part. What did you feel? Did you feel tingling, warmth or maybe nothing? Now, remember that feeling. During the day I want you to refocus over and over again on your special body part. This part is going to be your special friend when you become stressed. Your "little friend".

Practice this special body part awareness as often as you can remember. Continue to connect feelings of peace or calmness to this body part. So, when the lady in front of you insist on paying for three cartons on Almond milk separately so she can get the discount, you can regenerate that calmness and show kindness to this lady. This may be the only way she can provide her children with healthy food.

But, the most important thing to remember is that there is no right way or wrong way to progress through this body awareness or through life. So go share the authentic, totally messy, divine you with the world.

Hug and Kisses

The Beauty in the Dark

I have never been a light, easy women. There has often been a serious, heaviness to how I traveled in the world. I have always longed for answers to the unanswerable questions of life. I love mucking around in the shadow, dark side of life. Even as a little person I desired deep conversations that talked to my soul.

I have always loved the dark side of life. The place where the unmasked, raw truth resides. The place that is scary, dark and there are no night lights to guide you. The dark, shadowy places are where the dirty work of self-realization and self-love occurs. But we must bring what we learn to the light. We can't get stuck in a constant cycle of looking for things to fix or believing that our strength and gifts can only be shared when all our issues have been fixed.

The dark can become comfortable. The struggle can become comfortable. It can become easier to be in an eternal cycle of fixing ourselves than to being presence in life. Yes, there will always be issues that trigger strong emotional responds that we have to learn to navigate. But life should not always be about removing or squashing these triggers or emotions.

There has to be light and we have to stand in that light. We must know that life is about Just Being. Just being bumpy. Just being cracked. Just being bright. Just being amazing flawed. Just being presence. Just being human.


 

 

 

Who's Ya' Mama!

Easter, 1974

Easter, 1974

I am the daughter of Ruth. Who was the daughter of Clara. Who was the daughter of Hattie. Who was the daughter of former slaves.

I am the daughter of the Earth. I am the daughter of the Suffrage Movement. I am the daughter of the Civil Rights Movement. I am the daughter of the Gay Rights movement. I am the daughter of the Lakota Pipeline Resistance.

We are all the daughters of someone who was also the daughter of someone. And if you are American your people were once immigrants or slaves. In other words, they have been through hell and back to make sure their genetics survived.

We will survive Trump's presidency. Our fight to retain and stand up for our human rights is no different then the generations that came before us. Those generations often shielded us from the fights they had so we could be comfortable. We are no longer comfortable. It's our turn to fight.

Yes, I'm pissed that half of the American population were okay with having a president who appears to hate and fear everybody except rich white men. But then I had to remember that the other half wanted nothing to do with his hate and fear. His election proves that we have made progress toward all Americans having equal right and this scares the shit out of a large part of the population. His election also proves that we have a lot more work to do. And complaining on social media, praying without action and going back to our comfort zone is not going to change anything.

First, we have to take care of our selves. We will not last long in the fight if we are tired, distracted and burnt-out. The changes we want will not happen overnight. It will take a lifetime and we have to be prepared. No one goes to war without preparing their bodies and minds. Now is the time to incorporate meditation, body awareness movement or a plant based diet into you life. I suggest starting with a meditation method that feels right and do it at least three times a week.

Second, we have to put our money and time into organizations that work to make the world a better place. Pick one or two causes, not every cause that touches your heart, and commit to making a change. There are too many injustices to put your energy into every one. This will water down your power. You have to have faith that there are other people fighting for the other injustices and together we will change the world.  

Third, we have to show the next generation how to fight for equal rights for all people. Whether we agree their lifestyle or not. Everyone has the right to just be themselves.  We have to teach them by our daily action not just talk. Children can see through the bull. You need to expose them to a diversity of people, places and experiences.

I promise you we will survive. We are the daughters of our mothers. Who were the daughters of our grandmothers.  We are the daughters of the Earth. And this isn't the first time we have had to fight to survive.

Sacred Sampler

5 stages of transformation because life is all about transformation and change. You get to decide whether it will be a conscious process. The stages were easy to delineate and determine where you are on the journey.

Yoga is about so much more than pretzel like poses. Yoga is a system of wellness and Ayurveda is an important part of it. You need to check out the the rest of this podcast, The Get Well Podcast. Love these ladies!

We Will Rise the movie: Michelle Obama's Mission to Educate Girls Around the World," the First Lady, Meryl Streep, Freida Pinto and CNN's Isha Sesay take a journey to Morocco and Liberia, where they meet young women overcoming incredible odds to change their lives. And we are complaining because the line is too long at the coffee shop.

80 year old is the new sexy. Check out this 80 year old grandfather who stole the show during a runway show at China Fashion Week.

One of my all time favorite books is Broken Open.  It totally changed how I responded to "How are you doing?"  Our go to phrase is "I'm fine", even when we are far from that. I believe sharing our real stories allow other to do the same. As a result we all start to heal.  

You are not going to be Serena Williams in 21 days

Somewhere along this journey of life I aged. I became a middle age woman and I can promise you it isn't how I thought it would be when I was 20. I gained the weight that I thought I wouldn't. I developed the medical problems that only old people like my grandma got. And recently I have started having abnormal joint ache. Not the "Oh hell, I can't play basketball with the 20 year old" ache. Ache and swelling that get you referrals to special doctor. But I still believe that I and I alone have the power to make my life anything I want it to be. The small problem with making all of these changes it that you have to put in work. And often it takes a change in habit and persistence for these big changes to occur.

But as we all know changing habits isn't easy. We try making the changes alone and when the habit doesn't becomes automatic we sign up for a 21 day cleanse or 30 day fitness challenge. We do okay while we are in the program but two weeks later we are a few dollars lighter and mad at ourselves. What if your failure was due to the misconception of how long it takes for a habit to become automatic?

So, how long does it take to establish a new habit? 21 days, 28 days or maybe 30 days? No, No and No. We have all been bamboozled. Lied to. A plastic surgeon, Maxwell Maltz, in the 60s observed that amputees took an average of only 21 days to adjust to their loss limb. Therefore, he reasoned, without any hard proof, the same must be true of all big changes. So, here we are 50 years later beating ourselves up when we don't make major life changes in 21 days.

Okay, if it isn't 21 days then how long does it take. An average of 66 days. A study by the University College London psychologist Phillippa Lally and her colleagues helped confirm this. On average people who were trying to learn new habits such as eating fruit daily or going jogging, took 66 long days before reporting that the behavior had become automatic. And remember this is an average. Individual changes ranged widely from 18 days to a whooping 245 days.

The 21 day myth also makes us believe that any habit can be changed in 21 days. Sorry, harder habits such as learning a new subject takes longer than eating a fruit a day.  I am happy to announce that the myth of missing a day of a new habit sabotages the whole process is also wrong. Missing a day or two doesn't make a long term difference. Give yourself some slack and then restart. Believing this myth is actually not helpful because you often will give up on yourself before the habit becomes automatic.

Another factor in changing habits is realizing that habits are responds to actual needs. For example, eating that box of doughnut may be because your life is difficult and you need comfort. You have to figure out the need that triggers the desire for the doughnut (comfort) and then find something else that fulfills the need (like calling a friend). As you fulfill the need some other way then you can eliminate the habit that is no longer working.

One last factor, habits are meant to be difficult. Habits are the brains way of making life simpler. Your brain develops habits so it doesn't have to use energy processing the same routine over and over again. We see this in how we drive to work every day without thinking. Most of us can drive to work with blinders on and still make it on time. The brain wants habits to stick so this is why it takes a long time to change them, good or bad.

So, as you can see changing habits are a lot more complicated and will take longer than you think. Give yourself time and compassion as you go after your big dreams and desires.

 

Sacred Sampler

Having lows in our life is normal.

Great jewelry is always sacred. Couldn't get enough of the fancy PowerCuff.

If you want to learn more about the Sacred Arts, why not make it Golden?

Real Deal Healers. Shamans. Priestesses. Alchemists. Energy Workers. How do you determine who is real or who isn't?

Protection from Amethyst Angel Wings and fighting child trafficking. What more do you want?

Old news but confirms that you should always stand up for your values. Even if you lose money.

This is how patients have often made me feel.

Love this reading of Wislawa Szymborska's (Literature Nobel Prize Winner) poem by Amanda Palmer

It will change when MEN give a DAMN!

I AM. I AM. I AM.

Sacred Sampler

Eastern White Pine

Eastern White Pine

I believe the small ways we find pleasure should be thought of as Sacred. These list are a small sample of the unexpected sacredness I find while roaming.

I want all of their jewelry. But this ring is definitely a favorite.

Who needs wine after work?And great swag is always needed.

Soul Tailsman. Do I need to say more?

21 days to form a habit? Lies. Lies, I say. All lies.

The Noble Experiment  - Only female owned distillery in the US

One of the best courses I have ever taken

Everybody needs a morning routine

If loving you is wrong, then I don't want to be right.

Aging is such a beautiful, messy complicated privilege. Life in the nineties.

Happy Birthday to me! So, it was 3 months ago. Happy Birthday to me, again!

Hugs lovelies!

The Body Knows

I have been posting about detoxing since 2012. I still believe there are times that the body needs breaks from foods, toxins and information stressors. But I must apologize for the misinformation I have given on the topic.  I now feel like we have been going about it all wrong. Most detox programs have strict, inflexible guidelines of what you can eat, drink, and poop. But the body knows better.

Where I think we get it wrong is that our body needs the same strict detox each time it needs a break. We take our body's intuitive knowledge out of the equation. We think that somebody else's rules are better than what our body can tell us. Sometimes the body need food that will let the brain flourish and the next time it needs food to repair the gut. Only our body can tell us which food it needs. Those headaches, stomach ache or joint pains you get are the body's way of telling you that your life is out of balance. That it needs you to slow down and listen to the cravings or subtle wishes it is trying to tell you.

What I forgot in the process of healing my body, increasing my energy and upgrading my brain was to listen to my body. My body was created with innate systems to keep itself in balance. It will tell me when to eliminate a food, beauty product, television show or friend. Yes, it takes more work and consistent practice to hear what our bodies are telling us. It takes spending quiet time with our bodies. It takes taking an extra breath before we respond when we are angry. It takes saying sorry to our bodies for all the times we have ignored its subtle moans and groans. It takes letting go of overnight or 21 day programs that claim to change our bad habits for life. We have to listen. We have to slow down and let the whispers become roars that we can hear no matter what the latest expert says.

It took me participating in an intimate program called Feast, that was created and facilitated by the outstanding coach Rachel W. Cole, to remember this fact. Feast didn't start with a focus on the food like most programs that deal with food. It began with focusing on self-compassion. Self-compassion is so important when things don't go the way you thought or you don't loss the weight you want.  The other important factor was that Feast didn't deal with weight loss at all. This was not a weight loss program but a body acceptance and awareness program. I learned to tune into the body and the body will let you know if it needs to lose weight. It may not need to lose weight and you have to trust that the body knows best.

I have to admit that I'm still struggling and working with this new approach to my body. It is so much easier to just follow some rules. It's hard to have every food as an option to eat and have to listen to what feels good in my body and makes my body feel good.

Start listening and the answers will come.

Everything I Needed to Know About Life I learned from Hip Hop

Hip-Hop-KRSONE- quote.jpg

Hip hop  is the background music of my life. I became a teen in the 80s when Hip Hop was exploding. I wanted to have a love child with L.L. Cool J while rocking to MC Lyte's Ruffneck. Hey, we all can have dreams! Well,  I grew up and became a professional women and was told that hip hop wasn't for me. I was asked how could I love something that called me out of my name and told me I had no worth beyond my body. And for years I couldn't justify my love for hip hop and my strong feminist views. But just like a lot of things you grow up with hip hop taught me how to live my life. Here are a few life lessons I learned from Hip Hop.

1. Always rep your 'hood

You know within the first few seconds of a song where the rapper is from. They all tell you their city and how they are keeping it real for their hood. Now, I will admit some of them get caught up in keeping it real. Keeping it real doesn't mean continuing to act a fool because that is what you did when you were fifteen. It means not forgetting who you are and where you are from. A good example of realizing how to evolve and continue to keep it real is Jay Z. I listened to an interview where he talks about stabbing a producer in 1999. He was starting to have some commercial success and had a lot to lose if he went to jail. He states that he realized that the survival skills that had previously kept him alive could jeopardize all of his hard work and dreams. So, he had to let go of somethings from childhood but he has made millions singing about Brooklyn.

I learned early in my professional life that I had to keep it real. At meetings and events I often was the only person of color in the room.  I had an image in my mind of what others thought I was. And of course I was never going to be that image. So, I decided to take pride in all the qualities I had developed as a southern black girl raised by a single mother.  I also had to learn how to tame some of that energy so that my career and life would not explode. But, you best believe I will always love Sweet Tea and say "y'all".

 

2. Hustling is required

I grew up believing that hustling was something you didn't want to do. Where I'm from hustling was the guy on the street corner or the uncle who always had a new way to make some quick cash. As a grown ass women I know that hustling is required. Hustling is plain old marketing. Another name for hustler is entrepreneur. A hustler is always telling you about what she is selling. How her product is better than her competitor. What deal she can give you. She tells you how one of her products will make the other one better (entrepreneur call this upselling). She will go to extremes to sell her product. And she continues to believes in her product when others falter. Sounds, like an entrepreneur to me. This is why numerous people in hip hop can transition to successful business people.

 

3. Fake it 'til you make it

The majority of hip hop performers don't have the stuff they brag about. No money. No women. No fancy cars or homes. Is this lying or the laws of attraction on steroids? Well, that depends on their next steps, hard work and hustlin'. The laws of attraction don't attract unless you do some work. If you just rap about the good life but don't put hours in the studio or promoting your material it will just be a dream.

I decided at 16 years old I wanted to be a team doctor for the Washington Redskins. Well, you can see that didn't happen. And it didn't happen because I didn't want to do the work or make the sacrifices to be an orthopedic surgeon. But, I did make other sacrifices and studied to become a physician. And there were so many moments when I thought I would never be a physician but  I kept fakin' until I believed I could.

 

4. What You say, I'm PHAT!!!

Hip hop taught me to love my curves. Enough said. Most old school rap talked about black women and our bodies with love and admiration. Songs told me  that being PHAT (pretty hip, ass and tits) was wonderful. I learned to love my curves in a world that showed me only one view of beauty. But, then the climate of Hip Hop changed and I was told that my only worth was my body. So, Hip hop also taught me about sexism. It taught me early how to stand my ground when I was being underestimated and discriminated against because I was a women.

But it also gave me examples of women who spoke of their sexuality alongside their values and ideas. I grew up with Queen Latifah and MC Lyte.  They taught me how to find my power beyond my body without forgetting my sexuality.

I have to admit I don't like a lot of the new hip hop songs that repetitively call women out of their names or only talk about our body parts. I'm definitely more of an old school rap lover. But in being authentic to myself I have to say Hip Hop will always be my first love.

Where in your life have you struggled to be authentic?

Let us know in the comments section.