I have an admission.
The recent absence of my online presence isn’t exclusively related to being busy or mentally preoccupied. That’s part of it. Another part of it, actually, the biggest part of it, is the recurring struggle I’ve had with allowing myself to be open. I’m set on finding the balance between protecting myself and my life and being an open book. I’d like to share myself in a thoughtful, meaningful way, not recklessly over-share.
Posing this dilemma to a friend, he said, “But the work you do requires you to be honest. All creatives have to be.” It hit me, as it occasionally does at times before disappearing again, that there is something to this process, to this learning and sharing of mine. It isn’t haphazard or reckless; it’s necessary — for me and for whomever my words touch. I forget that my brand of creativity is more specific to how I think and applying understanding to grow. The art that resonates the most is that which is the most honest. My work will only resonate with others when I’m brave enough to open up and share my journey.
So, there it is. I struggle with being open. I struggle with maintaining clarity about my path. But I get it back. I’m here for a purpose and I unfailingly believe in purpose.
I’ll stop being scared. I’ll open up a bit. A few months back, I had a moment, ripe with reminders for myself. Epiphanies flooded me, and as they cascaded, I wrote them on my mirror. The picture above captured the result of that moment. It became a #notetoself I was happy to immortalize.
be honest with yourself about who you are,
what you need, what you feel, what you think, what you see.
honor yourself. honor your truth. honor your perspective.
honor who you are. honor who you’ve been. honor who you’re becoming.
I’ve been listening to myself lately — honoring my own wisdom, listening to its whispers, feeling its tugs and trying to heed its advice. This is what I’m learning…
- On music: It’s amazing. It’s awesome. It’s super powerful. It’s healing… It’s distracting. Sometimes. When I disconnect and listen to vocal-less music, I’m connected to myself and insights on life. It relaxes me and makes life a bit more otherworldly. Ambrose Akinmusire’s When the Heart Emerges Glistening and Robert Glasper’s Double Booked are soothing my spirit right now.
- On desire: We’re not supposed to have everything we think we want. Or when we want it.
- On life: Talents are our gifts — to us and to others. Burying them only shortchanges us and minimizes our contribution. Follow your bliss.
- Practice love. Be loving. Don’t let pain, and subsequent anger, blind you to your love. You love because you are love and expressing it is the highest joy. So express it. Live it. Be love in motion.
The grand prize: a painting (painted that day) by Lorra Jackson
A good example of an awesome day:
Meeting a friend for brunch and eating delicious raw lasagna. Going to a curly hair event and being surrounded by beautiful, stylish, friendly women who obviously know something about sisterhood. Feeling like you look a mess, but getting lots of compliments. Buying a raffle ticket to support Petals-N-Belles, an organization whose mission to support young women is of notable importance to me. Buying an awesome vintage purse for $10 and an African-printed bangle that makes my heart melt. Collecting a gaggle of free hair products. Building with amazing people. Winning the grand prize of said raffle.
The last time I won a raffle was when I was a kid. It was an Oliver & Company sleeping bag that my grandmother probably still has somewhere. To this day, just the mention of that movie makes me smile.
The funny thing is I wanted to win something. A tee shirt. A bag full of goodies. Something. Kind of, but not really, I was “supposed” to win something. Interestingly, right after I bought my 3 raffle tickets, my friend, Luna also bought 3 tickets. She left the event early and planned to give me her raffle tickets since she wouldn’t be there for the announcement. The grand prize was a painting that artist Lorra Jackson painted at the event. The second prize was a Huetiful Hair Steamer that I definitely wouldn’t have minded winning. The other prizes were gift baskets with assorted hair and beauty products.
My numbers were: 307975, 307976, and 307977. The winning number for the hair steamer was 307978. Whose ticket was that? It belonged to the absent Luna, or if I’d remember to get them from her, me. But I didn’t remember. So they picked another number and some other lucky woman took it home. I was genuinely happy for her, but a bit salty for me. Then, they called the number for the painting. 307976. Shock came to my face as I said, “that’s me.” I didn’t even have the tickets in my hand at this point, figuring some other number would be called–one that wasn’t mine. To my own benefit, I was wrong.
If a simple, nonspecific intention to win “something” can result in me leaving with the coveted grand prize, I need to be more aware of my intentions and energies and what I’m manifesting in my life. There’s been a general feeling of dissatisfaction looming over me recently. While appreciative for what I have, I need more of what works for me in my life and I know that the only thing in the way is me. I posit that, similarly, the most major obstacle in your way is you. Let’s get out of our own way. Let’s reflect to get clear on what we want and take consistent action to making that vision real. That’s definitely what I’m about to do. Please join me.
The wave of your karmic energy can lift you up or crash down on you.
You ever had one of those days that picks you up and throws you into the sky, where the joy and magic you find keeps you high, suspended? Yesterday was such a day for me. All day, nothing but love and what some would perceive as luck. It was just what I needed when I needed it.
This is a magical and wondrous world. All based on energy.
What you put out comes back to you. Align yourself with love.
My belated apologies for not posting anything or even posting this message beforehand but I’ve been traveling. Remember this? That’s what I’ve been up to for the past few weeks. An abundance of thoughts and feelings overwhelm me.
For now, I’ll just say that the last few days in the beautiful and wondrous Barcelona have reminded me of all the magic in this world; the magic that has been and the magic that will be. Imagine walking down a street, knowing so little of the language that at every block you have to once again ask for directions just to make sure you’re heading the right way. That’s been my reality. Even with its moments of trepidation, I can attest to the gloriousness of it all.
When it all falls apart, or when it never fully connected in the first place, “you figure it out,” as someone told me I would prior to my departure. I figured it out. It all came together.
#notetoself: go with the flow. have some faith. use your intuition.
- Be an active student of your self and your life.
Who are you? How are you…? Why are you…? Life is a mirror and we are constantly being revealed to ourselves. Are we paying attention? Taking time to get quiet and distill my own energy from everyone else’s is a vital part of this process.
- Love is freedom, not possession.
Love the being of a person, not the having of a person. Possession is an ever-enduring illusion.
- Choose your response.
We are free to choose how we are going to behave and what energy we are going to bring in every moment. As much as possible, I want to choose my response deliberately. Knee-jerk reactions are an unskillful way to maneuver through life. I want to be who I want to be independent of how/who others choose to be. My mantra is “amidst it all, be love.”
- Thank your way through it.
There’s value even in the valley. Everything isn’t what it seems. When we look back on our lives later, even if it doesn’t seem so now, we’ll find this amazing architecture we could’ve never dreamed of. The key, I’m learning, is to be grateful for it all. Create the meaning along the way.
- Kindness begets kindness.
Karma is real. Keep doing you and watch the return. I dropped $4 during a trip to the store. All I had on me was that $4 specifically to purchase some food for work. It fell out of my pocket and someone stopped me to return it. Small, yes, but still huge. As Will Smith said, “Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, cause hate in your heart will consume you too.”
- You are a gift.
You are here on purpose. Your love is a gift. Your forgiveness is a gift. Even your gifts are your gifts.
Every year on my birthday, I like to thank the people who help influence my life in some way, direct, indirect, small, large, whatever.
At this very moment, I’m overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude and love for all the lessons I’ve learned, from all the inspiration I’ve received, for all the mirrors to myself.
Thank you, my readers, for reading. For commenting. For reaching out. For helping me to understand that this journey is not one I traverse alone and that sharing my reflections is not in vain. To the friends, loved ones, associates, strangers, enemies and opposition who reflect me to myself, who challenge me to grow…thank you. To those who inspire me, teach me, receive me, and amplify my light…thank you. To the brave, the scared, the weak, the strong, the beautiful and ugly spirits…thank you for showing me where I am and where I have to go. Thank you for love. Thank you for light. Thank you for life. I am abundantly blessed & abundantly grateful.
If you ever want to experience a natural high, practice gratitude. Find reasons to celebrate life. You’ve only got this one (that you know of).
Almost two months ago, I made a pretty big investment into a bike and quickly converted to a commuter cyclist. Emphasis on the quickly part, I was immediately a biking enthusiast and now tout its virtues at every given opportunity. It’s seriously amazing, transforming a pedestrian/mass transit commuter’s relationship to the city instantly. You begin to experience the city in a much more intimate and dynamic way. You begin to know the streets and its buildings in a way you hadn’t before being shuttled in a capsule beneath the ground. You know the city how a driver knows the city better than a nondriver, yet this relationship is closer. There isn’t a ton of metal, glass, plastic, and rubber separating you from the city with the exception of a few holes from open windows. You can touch the ground, see and feel even the slightest bump, curve, and incline. All the wind hits your face and the principles of aerodyanics have a much more relevant and potent impact on your commute.
I know it sounds poetic. Really, it is.
After leaving work Friday night, happy to go home because I had a new Amazon Kindle I was excited to play with, I learned a great lesson: be humble or be humbled.
Without much notice or explanation, I sort of disappeared. No blog posts, few tweets or updates otherwise; life has taken me away from the computer. In all honesty, this was a good thing. As a writer and an Internet junkie, I can really spend a lot of time isolated in my own world and in my thoughts, sitting in front of a computer screen wreaking further havoc on my eyes (if you have glasses, wear them!). Periods of solitary refinement are necessary for us all. And sometimes, so are immersions into life—the good, the great, the gritty. That’s precisely where I’ve been—away from the computer and the virtual worlds I’ve made myself home in and submerged in the real thing, walking my talk and gestating ideas.
Thank you, my readers, for checking in on the blog and checking in on me. I’ve gotten emails, direct messages, and tweets questioning my whereabouts and urging me to post something new. Not once had I forgotten about you or the blog; I just had to live. I suppose I should publicly say now that I’m working on a book. My first book! Ever the idealist, I have a vision I’d like to materialize as close to what I see or better, so I’m being careful to test my ideas and theories on myself in my life first. I want it to be great because I want it to inspire millions of people to be great and to continue to become greater and grander versions of themselves.
I’ve missed posting and I see that so have others. I hear you. I’m here.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been sitting back, watching and analyzing: myself, people, life. I’ve gained some insight and direction in the process. I spent some time walking around the city and in the burbs along Fox River thinking and seeing. Soon, but not quite yet, I’ll be ready to share more of those insights; I’m still processing. I encourage everyone to change scenery at some point for a bit–alone. Embrace your be-ing. Dissect your patterns. Explore your growth, or the lack thereof. Oh, and do something that just simply makes you happy.