January 3, 2015

Intimidation...Unworthiness...Courage. Here's to moments like these.



I feel like I have to live up to something. Something great. Someone to be proud of. And when I think about those things, who that person would look like, I picture other people. I have to be like that person – they are doing extraordinary things. They have an image that I want. No one would look at me and see extraordinary.

This isn’t a post where I wine about how not-awesome I am, because I am the awesomest. But I have to acknowledge the times when I’m not feeling so extraordinary, and even the times when I’m not feeling ordinary, because in those uncomfortable feelings where I’m searching outside of myself for whatever it is my heart craves, there is a message. And it’s my job to listen. It’s my job to explore those feelings.

Well what do I like about that person?
What makes them extraordinary to me?
What are the feelings I’m trying to receive from trying to live in this person’s light and not my own?

I admire their creativity. Their beautiful photos. Their social media presence. I admire the way they treat their business. The way they explore nature or the things they do in the kitchen. I’m kind of jealous that they find the time to maintain their blog and business. Which probably means I want to be more creative. I want to go out and be adventurous. I want to cook something beautiful in the kitchen. I need to explore ways to spend time on things that are important to me.

This doesn’t always happen. Most of the time I end up in a ball on my bed eating ice cream or watching Grey’s Anatomy. And that’s important too. I can let myself fall sometimes. I can’t imagine how hard it would be for my spirit, if I never let myself crumble- if I always tried to find the positive right away, if I never let myself not smile, if I never let myself cry. I know from experience that when I crumble from all of that pressure, the damage affects my entire family.

Here’s to more creativity.
More writing.
More art.
More asking for what I need.
More being selfish.
More crumbling.
More tears.
More laughter.
More forgiveness.
More moments of intimidation.
More moments of envy.
More moments of Joy.
More moments of fear.
More moments of darkness.
More moments of finding the light in that darkness.
More moments of Love.

More moments of life.

November 12, 2014

New beginnings- reconnecting with "her".

I found myself the other day.

I put her in the corner, and sort of forgot she was there. I neglected her, but I found her the other day.

I think I was ashamed of who she was… who I am. I was ashamed because I felt alone. I felt like the people whom I was around were different than me, which is true, but I let that truth create a rule in my head that the path I chose to follow was silly. My silly, wooey ways didn’t fit into a mold that would allow me to be accepted into society. My silly wooey ways would be laughed at, and definitely not taken seriously. I don’t really know how true this is, but it was true enough for me that I hid myself.

I hid the woman who believed that all things were divine, and sacred. I covered up the woman who believed that there is beauty in all things. I hid the woman who believed in the healing power of the earth, the grounding nature of leaning against a tree (and yes, even hugging one).

That woman, me, would proudly wear her mala beads, and her three stone pyrite to protect her sensitive nature. She… I, believe in the power of gemstones, and would carry one (or more) with me depending on what I wanted to receive from the universe. I would chant to the universe. I would chant until it brought me to tears. I would chant until I was compelled to dance and spin freely. I would chant to Ganesh to remove the barriers from any obstacles in my way, and chant Om Namah Shivaya to remind myself that we are all God in various forms.

This woman would still get sad, but she would understand that this emotion, that particular moment, was just part of the ebb and flow of the universe. And that rough moment made her realize even more the interconnectedness of all things. This woman wouldn’t shy away from pain. She would feel it with all her being. She would go outside, and feel the wind against her skin, and know it was the universe’s nurturing touch.

She would’ve cleansed this new house with some damn sage a long time ago. It really needs it.

She wouldn’t sit in a corner.

It’s important to have friends around you that believe in different things. I’m not saying that I want carbon copies of myself. But I did get lost, and I realize now that’s normal, too. I hid myself but I also knew it was time to grow and stretch a little more. I became confident in different areas of my life. I got more comfortable with being a feminist, I became more comfortable with being a black woman (which is a super huge thing in this society), and I’m still getting comfortable with advocating for women, and people of color, which is what I really want to do because these types of discrimination are really close to my heart. Calling out the bullshit – in people, and in society, is something I need to do with my whole self. I need the hippy goddess in me to tell me the universe has my back. I need her confidence. I need her strength. I need her grace.

I am learning that I can continue to add to my identity. I don’t need to shed any layers unless I truly believe those layers do not serve me any longer. There’s a difference between knowing it’s time to let go, and letting go because we feel we will be rejected for being ourselves. I’ve had a couple of people tell me that if people do not like who I am, then I need to find new friends. A simple concept.

Friends don’t have to be like-minded, but they should be accepting. They should be loving and caring. Compassion is healing, nourishing, and super beautiful when folks show it. No hippyness is required to show compassion.

I miss this space. I miss writing. I need to do this. My spirit feels deprived. It feels dull and undernourished. I am in great need for some self-care.  I need to put myself first for a while (as much as I can with a needy, loving, toddler). My hope is that the fear of writing will begin soften by the strong desire to nourish my spirit. This is my attempt at doing that.

I’m currently reading Patti Digh’s creative is a verb, which is off to an amazing start. She says that living is creative- that we can find art in anything. And I’m reminded that there is beauty in all things, anything can be nourishing, spiritual, and sacred.

There’s always a little light in the darkness, but it has to start within. We have to see ourselves as worthy, sacred, spiritual, and filled with light. I’m working on it, are you? Let’s work on it together.

January 1, 2014

Show Up.

2nd photo of the new year. I took this photo because looking into the camera is very uncomfortable for me. 

I'm trying to just show up.
Just be here.
Not edit my words so much...

That's really hard.

It's amazing what happens when one simply wants to remove the filter.
When one simply wants to just be.

"But will they like it?
But will it be good?
But will anyone care?"

Maybe, maybe not.

Showing up feels scary. It feels shaky. And at the moment I'm working with being in that space.

I read recently about the middle way. The Middle Way isn't so much about not feeling happy or sad, you know, some sort of nothingness - it's really about being with where we are, especially when life becomes uncomfortable. The middle way requires us to live with our discomfort, instead of searching for an instant cure. This path also requires not becoming attached to our pleasure and happiness. The constant seeking and searching for that feel good thing, the never ending search for the salve to sooth our wounds... totally unnecessary.

In pain and pleasure there is wisdom. In both there is love, and kindness.

I'm hesitant to do some sort of 365 thing because I don't want to get caught up in that search for accomplishment, or shame if I forget a day. Honestly I'm more afraid of the shame. Then I must think if it's just the fear holding me back?

That's why it's important to explore our emotions. Even if I am feeling a little afraid, that's OK. And if I'm feeling excited, that's also OK. They are both on the same level. And it's OK if there's not an immediate answer.

Exploration is much more important, and we get so much more out of it. If we just remain curious, the answers will come in their own time.

So just show up. Whatever that may mean. It may mean a photo. It may mean writing. It may mean releasing that fear of setting goals.

I'm just going to leave it open and live through it all.

Tell me. How are you showing up today?

December 15, 2013

Sexiness: A Work In Progress.

I want to feel sexy.

Last night while watching my little girl, this desire - to feel sexy, came up. And I felt bad about it. As I imagined myself in red lipstick, and tight fitting clothes, as I imagined my freshly shaven legs strutting down a walkway, I felt bad. I'm not supposed to want to feel sexy. I mean, I'm so against the notion of playing into societal expectations of what women should look like in order to feel pretty. I didn't want my pretty feelings to come from doing what everyone says a woman should do to feel desirable.

But then, I thought, if I'm doing this for me, then what's wrong with it? I mean, it's not like I dress up and make myself up all the time. I don't spend a lot of time in the mirror obsessing about my appearance - even though my 'unkeptness' is a source of insecurity for me. I like being a natural woman, but I don't at the same time because every where I look I'm reminded that natural beauty really isn't considered beauty. It's not normal.

Does this desire to feel sexy stem from wanting to be normal? Am I trying to conform in some way? Am I just trying to tap into my feminine? And what does that even mean? Is tapping into our feminine all about makeup and tight clothing, or is it much more than that? That's a conversation I would love to -and need to- have another time.

I told my husband about this predicament I was having. This tugging at my heart to feel sexy and how I was so conflicted about wanting to wear makeup and be girly and, you know, be pretty for a change.

And then I asked, "What is sexy? What does that even mean?". And I realized I just wanted to feel confident. I wanted to be noticed. I wanted to be proud of myself. I wanted to be unapologetically me. It wasn't about the lipstick. It wasn't about the tight clothing. It was about letting my light shine. I was telling myself that I didn't want to hide anymore. I wanted to be me, but I didn't know how. This desire came from the restless feelings within -- feeling like an outcast, feeling alienated and alone.

For a moment, I just wanted to live and not hide. I wanted to smile and hold my head up. I can't do that yet. I admit that I can't do that yet. But what I figured out last night was that it's time to figure out how to make that happen. How to be Dyamond. Well, I already know how to be Dyamond, but it's time to figure out how to introduce the world to Dyamond. It's time to figure out how to move through the embarrassment, how to move through the world with all the skeletons and dark spaces in my closet, how to embrace the dark and the light at the same time with love. It's time to learn how to accept that I can't change how people will feel about me. People will tease me, make fun of me, and some will be inspired, some will be critical, some will be helpful and encouraging. I can't control any of that. I can't control anything.

I'm a work in progress. Always will be. And I'm learning that if I strive to be anything other than a work in progress, I'm always going to be unhappy. Life is constant change, constant growth, constant evolution. That's just how shit goes down. There's no happy ending. There's just acceptance. Surrender. Gratitude. Compassion. And lets not forget a whole lot of pain, and heartache, and discomfort.

I don't feel sexy. I'll get there. Especially now that I know what I really want. That's the beauty of sitting with the hard moments. Asking questions, diving deeper. As Pema Chödrön says: "Leaning into the discomfort". So I may still put on a little eye liner. I may still shave my legs. There really isn't anything wrong with being a little girly if that's what one feels called to do. But at least I know why I'm doing it. At least I know I'm doing it to be seen, and acknowledged. I'll support myself with Love.

Now, when I think about this, I hear a voice inside say, "Do what you need to do, Love". There's so much love. So much joy. So much patience. She knows we'll get there someday. She knows, lipstick or not, that we are brilliant. I know. This is my truth. The really is no actual destination. There is no "there" in the grand scheme of things. What I really hope to accomplish, more than gaining confidence, is acceptance. No matter what state of being I'm in. Whether I'm bursting from the seams with confidence, or if I'm hiding in a corner... Acceptance. Always a work in progress.

November 3, 2013

Today we create adventure. #NaPhoPoMo Day 2

It's interesting how quickly forget to cherish the little things.
That there is beauty even in the most dreariest of days.

I sometimes forget how to slow down, and savor the day. 

Drink it in slowly, like a good glass of wine...

Today I remember to create my own adventure. Sometimes it takes the low points to help us remember what truly gives our life meaning.

And I'm reminded at my low points that life is beautiful. All the time. I've been letting go so much more. Forced smiles become genuine. Letting life become playful- laughing more. Taking small moments to nourish creativity. 

Every time I get knocked down I am uplifted by the brilliance this life holds.

 And I remember that this sacred life... is mine. Ours. I am in control of my journey, and no matter what has happened thus far, I still have the choice - a chance - to be someone awesome.

Many gifts are not given, but with a change in perspective we can see just how many are just lying around.

Thank you, universe. 

October 10, 2013

How to Use Imagination to Fall in Love With Yourself.


Some days all we can do is imagine.

I imagine myself as a beautiful woman, with a big heart. I am filled with confidence - you can see it in the way I walk, the way I speak, in everything I do.

I imagine that I am doing extraordinary things in the world. I am a dreamer and a doer.

I am a fantastic mother, lover, and friend.

On days where I don't feel so good, I let myself imagine. I play around with the ideas of what it would be like to be "her". And as these magical thoughts dance through my mind, my shoulders roll back and down. I sit up a little taller, my chin raises up, and there's an extra sway in my step as I imagine...

We know who we are - we are just scared sometimes to be who we are.

Our imagination can bring us back to who we are, even if for the moment we think we are just playing pretend. The buddhist say we are already enlightened- we've just forgotten. And so our journey is just a processs of reminding ourselves just how brilliant we already are.  We are already brilliant, confident, and beautiful, even when we don't feel we are in our best shape.

Try it sometime. Let your mind wander. What does your dream self look like? Write about her. Take a self-portrait of her. Dream about her. Notice any transformations as you let your mind play. Even the slightest change is important- those changes let you know she's there. She's always there.

Let her come out.

September 3, 2013

What No One Tells You About Becoming a Mother.

I'm so glad to slowly come back to this space after a nearly 4 month hiatus. I started writing  another post about motherhood before this one. In that piece, I talk about the lessons I've learned being a mother. It's much more fluffy than this post... But I couldn't share it- not yet. I couldn't even finish it. The words felt fake. But I was inspired by this post to speak my truth- not that what I was going to share before this was lies, but I knew I needed to share my whole self, for my sake. So I could finally begin to heal.

I was terribly excited about becoming a mother.

What started out as fear, grew into Love. I was going to be a mother, and it would be magical. 
I imagined myself breastfeeding with a smile. I wouldn't get stressed out or angry when the baby would cry. My transformation into motherhood would be sacred. I would be a beautiful new woman. 

Alexa Eva was born May 22, at 6 something in the morning. My labor was nothing like I thought it would be. Nothing went the way I planned. I imagined a blissful birth in the tub, but ended up on my back in the bed, holding on to my husbands hand for dear life. I did try the tub thing though- I ended up hating it. I ended up hating a lot of things. However, it was beautiful in its own way. Funny enough, the last time I felt beautiful was when I was in labor. That was the last time I truly felt like a woman. I've never felt more present...I've never felt more primal. But boy was that a painful transformation.

What no one tells you about being a mother*

No one tells you the rush of good loving feelings will not last-
When you're struggling to breastfeed, while dealing with "baby blues", while you're bleeding all over yourself, dealing with unwanted company, paranoid about every single thing the baby is doing/feeling- no one tells you the stress makes you feel disconnected from your child.

No one tells you breastfeeding is worse than labor. 
No one tells you the hormones released from constantly feeding your child in the beginning can make you feel like you've gone batshit insane. 

No one tells other people to stop telling you to sleep when the baby sleeps. 
That's easy at first, but over time it just doesn't happen that way. No one tells you that it's still very possible to have insomnia even though you've barely been getting any sleep to begin with.

No one tells you how sleep deprived you'll truly be-
When you're nursing every two hours, and you aren't introducing a bottle to the baby yet, and there really is no such thing as a break... not now. 

No one tells you that you'll break down and loose your shit sooo many times. 
I have screamed and cried right along with my child. I have screamed and cried when she wasn't crying. You'll cry because you haven't slept in weeks and you're in your own custom-made version of hell... and babies don't come with receipts- you can't give them back (not that I'd ever want to give her away). 

No one tells you how bad you'll miss your old life. 
You'll sometimes wish she wasn't around. No one tells you how shitty you'll feel for thinking that. No one tells you how you'll feel like you fail at life because you can't be the supermom you imagined. You have to push back yoga teacher training (again), you'll stop writing for a while, you can't paint, you'll neglect your business, and you'll feel like all the hard work you've put in to creating the life you desired was for nothing. And then you'll try to shut out those thoughts but they won't go away.

No one tells you how much you'll blow people off. 
You'll forget to say thank you to everyone for all the gifts, and sometimes you'll remember, but you won't feel like talking to anyone. You'll take a week (or more) to respond to messages, you'll fear that people now think you're unreliable and won't want anything to do with you anymore. And again, you'll feel shitty. You'll feel alone.

No one tells you that you'll ooze with jealousy every time your spouse leaves the house to go to work. 

No one tells you how messy your house will get, and how lousy you'll feel when someone else cleans it for you. 

No one tells you that sometimes you'll really hate being a mom. 

No one tells you that you really can't prepare for motherhood.

But that burst of Love? That Love you felt in the beginning when your baby was laid on your chest? The Love you thought went away when shit got super hard? That's what gets you through this. That's what fuels you to try again every couple of hours even when your nipples feel like they are about to fall off. That's what keeps you from giving up. Because even though it hurts (for now) you'll get help. You'll breath through it. You'll cry through it. Because you want to give your child what's best for her**And later on you guys will be in sync. You'll have your own flow. And then something will mess up that flow, but you two will always get back to it. 

That Love will be the reason why she barely leaves your arms. And you'll want to put her down, but you won't because you realize in the grand scheme of things, this time you have together is crazy short. She will never go back to being this age again. 

And when she smiles at you - a for real smile- just for you, for the first time? It makes your entire life. And every time she smiles after that will fuel you. It will reenergize you. Every time. 

My kid is the air I breathe. She is everything to me. I'm still confused by where she's taking me right now. I've never felt this way before. There are days when I am frustrated, pissed, depressed... but there are even more moments filled with joy, gratitude, and always Love. 

Always Love.

So here I am, recreating my life. Change can be scary. Change can also be exciting. Part of moving forward for me, meant acknowledging the dark moments. It meant acknowledging that I'm not the only mama who has felt this way. 

I guess this means I'll be writing blog posts at 3 a.m. when I can't sleep, or while breastfeeding. And going to the grocery store alone feels like heaven on earth. And yes, yoga teacher training will be delayed, again. But every morning I wake up next to a smiling giggling baby. Every. Single. Morning. I haven't been disappointed yet. And one day that may be replaced with a groaning teenager who does not want to get out of bed. And the thought of doing yoga with my kid fills me with much more joy than yoga teacher training. I'm looking forward to that so so much. I think in the long run, the trade off was worth it.

I'm really lucky.

She's teaching me to love in a whole new way. Because of her, I can love others in a whole new way, too. I can truly love with my whole heart. 

And for that, I am grateful.

---- ---- ----

*I'm perfectly aware that this is my experience. Not everyone feels this way, and that's okay too.
**I am not saying those who choose to formula feed are bad mothers. Every mother/baby/situation is different.