Rise Up

August 27th blogedit

Isla de Barú, Cartagena, Colombia. 2018

“Ready or not, here I come, you can’t hide.” That’s what the storm says. That’s what time says. That’s what nature says. (That’s what The Fugees say).

Well, we can try to hide, but not well enough. Sometimes it’s better to just stay out in the open, where we find ourselves vulnerable and forced to face the changes. Hiding from these changes will only make us feel small, because we were afraid. Also, because we’d be left with a mountain of “shoulda, coulda, wouldas.” In hiding, especially from the storm, we lose out on the universe’s offer to cleanse us of anything that no longer serves us. All it wants to do is lighten our load. Free us of conscious and subconscious burdens. It wants to condition us to become fearless, and embrace change. The storm; the change in weather is just a metaphor otherwise, of the possibilities in life.

The oceans run deep, and at times they rise up. They become stormy, because there’s a sort of tension that needs to be released. We, as humans, have oceans of emotions. They run deep. They become stormy, because there are sorts of tension that have a need to be released. We have to face those storms to move on, to grow, to become stronger.

It’s all temporary. The weather, our feelings, our circumstances. When we embrace that, it’s likely because we have not forgotten about our sunny days. We have not forgotten the rainbows. We have not forgotten how clean the air has become after the storm. We have not forgotten the pleasure of breathing easy.

We can’t expect the sun to shine on our days, and not have the water rise as well. It’s a responsibility. We all have rhythm, we all move. It’s in how we interpret our experiences, that transform our livelihoods.

We are the ups and downs, the ins and outs, the comings and goings, because we’re alive. We are supposed to dance. We are living art. So, whether the weather is stormy, sunny, or sorta funny, be fearless. Weather, the weather. Rise up.

 

Hold On, Let Go, Be Free.

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Porto, Portugal. 2017

It’s December, the month that ends off the year. December is when many of us take a look back at all that has taken place, and we ask ourselves, “what are my goals for next year?” 

Let’s go back to January, a flashback to our “fresh start.” What new things did we get ourselves into, and what bad habits did we work on shaking? Are with you with me, are you reflecting? Okay, remember the things and the people that seemed to have vanished, and the things and the people that have mysteriously and miraculously appeared? What about the ones who have been around forever, but somehow they became more alive, shedding more light on our lives, this year in particular? There are no coincidences. There’s something special about the people who decided to exit stage left, and the ones who, surprisingly, became center stage. People were shifting roles in our lives, and we may not have noticed when it was happening, but now we can see that they created some of the most effective changes, placing us where we are today. Their roles don’t always last long, but hopefully we paid close attention to what they had to say, while they had the stage. 

As we reflect, we read some interesting books. We wrote some interesting things. We watched new shows and movies. Our topics of discussion changed. Our reasons for anger and frustration changed. Our reasons for smiles and laughter changed. When it came to decision making, we seemed to have changed our minds a lot, never being quite sure, but our actions turned out to be bold anyway. We spent more time with ourselves, making sure that we experienced self love. We were more honest. We hustled hard. We decluttered our spaces, and our minds. We shifted our eating habits and our exercise routines, and we were so excited to share our newfound lifestyles with our loved ones. 

As we reflect, we think about how we spent our time, and noticed that not every moment was valuable. We probably didn’t like the work we were doing, and we may have had epiphanies to shift gears and focus more on our passions. This relates quite heavily to how we evaluated our mental health. We had a lot of depressing thoughts, but when we were joyful – everything seemed great! We’re not sure if we’ve earned enough money doing the things we did, but it seems like we certainly spent a lot. We’re remembering some of our “storms” and our “sunny days.” We’re thinking about our stubborn patterns, and more importantly about the lessons we’ve learned.  

Looking back on the last year, we gathered some strength, and decided it was time to take off the bandages. It was our time to focus on dealing with our “wounds,” and seeing them for what they were. We decided to stop referring to the “quick fixes,” and take the time necessary to pay attention to ourselves, and do what was best for us to improve our states of health. Eventually, we’ll take the time to pay attention to the ones around us, making sure they too, are doing okay. 

In the last 11 months, some of us struggled with holding onto “things” that were old. We knew that if some of those “things” had legs, they would have left us a long time ago. And, some of us were really good at letting go. We became eager to create space for new things, new thoughts, new people, and new memories, because we understood and respected change. We were the ones who welcomed change, because we wanted growth. We were the ones who took risks. We didn’t all have it figured out, but because we had people we could count on, that gave us balance. 

It’s December, the time of year when many of us look back on all that has taken place, and we ask ourselves, “what are my goals for next year?” 

I have one goal of obtaining great health. If the main states of health are in great condition, I feel confident in knowing that I can reach any other goal, because:

Physically, I’ll be able to “get there, and hold on”

Mentally, I’ll be able to “comfortably let go”

Emotionally, I’ll be able to feel a sense of harmony

Spiritually, I’ll know that anything is possible. 

 

 

Drink of Water.

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Bali, Indonesia. 2017.

It doesn’t happen right away, and that could be discouraging. When I think about something I’ve wanted really badly, having almost a yearning sensation for it, I had to wait. I’m not referring to the feeling of having a craving, getting the food desired, and feeling satisfied after, it’s deeper than that. It’s the moment I say to myself, “I want to get a degree in Journalism. I want to write a children’s book. I want to start painting. I want a place to call my own. I want to travel the world. I want…” It’s understanding the things that will truly add much value to my life, and my lifestyle, that will not come easily. It is having the desire for whatever I want, and surrendering once I’ve released those desires to the universe. I know in due time, I’ll have all that I’ve ever asked for, and until those moments I must prepare myself to receive them.

We all have desires, ones that we keep to ourselves, and ones that we’ve shared out loud, but what are we doing to prepare to receive all that we’ve been asking for? It’s a matter of consistency. It’s a matter of aligning all things within our lives to complement and support our desires.

I love to travel. I have a passion for it, and therefore much of what I do subconsciously revolves around it. I choose not to shop for materialistic things, but I make sure I have what’s essential to my way of living. At the start of 2014, I created a vision board of all things I wanted to manifest that year, or eventually. Looking back, within the year of 2014 up until now, everything on that vision board has been brought into fruition. The destinations I wanted to travel to, the characteristics I wanted to build on, the possessions I wanted to withhold, the jobs I wanted to transition into, the spiritual awakenings I wanted to experience, everything! It didn’t happen over night, over the course of one year, but they did happen! I worked toward it, never losing hope. Never giving up faith. I knew, in divine time, I’d have what I asked for, because I spent time preparing myself for it. Along the way, it was the little things, such as receiving a gift of a globe last year, with an inscription that reads my favorite line, “Happy is the girl who travels the world.” It was no coincidence, I attracted that into my life. It was meant for me to have, and now it sits in a special place in my home, as a daily reminder to be consistent with my passion for traveling.

It’s the moments in time that we must appreciate first. It’s the steps we have to take, to get where we want to go. It’s the faith we have to carry in our hearts, the spark we have to keep alive in our spirits. It’s the joys we have to feel wholeheartedly, the gratitude we must express, the hunger we have to feed, and the thirsts we have to quench. It’s the moment along our journey, when we simply become tired, but feel we don’t have time to take a break. That’s when we have to pay close attention to our paths. The universe knows us, sees us, and understands us. The universe conspires when we are tired, when we are ignorant, and tests us by placing before us exactly what we need in that moment, for the strength we need to carry on.

So, on my path, when I’m on a mission, but I know I’m feeling a bit tired, and “out of nowhere” a coconut that has fallen from the tree, is placed at my feet – I know there is no coincidence. It’s my choice to step over it and keep going, or stop to take the break I need. It’s the moment I ask myself if I’m too busy focusing on my destination, or am I open to all of the beauties and gifts presented to me along the way. I don’t know about you, but when the coconut falls, I’m stopping to pick it up. I’m figuring out a way to crack it open, take the sip, and revitalize the energy I need to carry on…

The dream is there, it’s not going anywhere, but the gratitude is even more sincere when there is no rush in getting to just that one place. Yet, when having arrived, the appreciation becomes magnified. We all have such unique and inspiring journeys. There are special stories we have to tell, and it’s fact that we live off of people’s stories.

It is in that moment when I was really tired, and feeling thirsty, that a coconut appeared. It is in the moment I took a sip, and the moment I was grateful for stopping to take the break. If I didn’t stop, I wouldn’t have noticed the tree, that provided the coconut, and all of the beauty surrounding it. Let’s do our best to pay attention to the signs, and when necessary, stop for a drink of water.

What is your coconut?

Grace.

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Montego Bay, Jamaica, 2016

It was so peaceful atop the rock, which was perfectly positioned for one to take in such astonishing natural beauty. Wow, Jamaica – you’re gorgeous. There was such a strong sense of stillness as I sat there, taking a moment to be grateful for all I am, and all I have. I admit, again and again, “It’s the simple things that makes me happy.” It’s life’s purest and most innocent beauties that I admire so much. In those moments, I am reminded to show gratitude for good health. Not great or excellent health, because I believe we all suffer from some sense of mental, physical, spiritual and emotional imbalance. I’m grateful for loving and supportive family and friends, opportunities to travel, living dreams out loud as an author and artist, and working in an admirable field of education where everyone around me is helping to inspire and teach children (our future). I love this quote, “When you change the way you see things, the things you see will change.” I believe that to be true. It is all about perspective. So, when I think of the guardian angels that have been placed in my life over time as my very own spiritual guides, I am now viewing them from an angle of appreciation. Physical loss of near and dear loved ones may be the greatest form of pain that any human endures, but we get to a point where we are even grateful that their spirit carries on. As much as we miss sounds of their laughter, warm hugs, and kind words, it’s comforting to know that they are always in our hearts and guiding our steps. Over time, the light in which we see them shifts from darkness. It does not have to be sad forever…because we all know we’re going some day, and when that day comes we’ll become guardian angels ourselves. Losing their laughter, warm hugs and kind words, should only encourage us to laugh more, hug more and speak kindly to others, as often as we can. Our guardian angels feed our destiny. They are light. It is a struggle to always see them in this way, but it is the best way. So, I’m grateful for them, everyday, in every way. I try my best to keep an attitude of gratitude, because I’ve noticed that when I’m gracious and grateful, blessings that were never even imagined begins to surface, and my life experiences truly turn out to be just as beautiful as nature.

I Am…

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Brooklyn, NY, 2016.

We all make investments. We invest time and energy in what we believe is important. Well, we should. Everything should have purpose. It’s not always easy, but sacrifice is necessary – otherwise your happiness and peace become compromised. Recently, I decided to solely focus on one particular investment. Myself! I’m on a journey of awareness. I am awake, and paying attention. I am visualizing the life I want for myself, each day, with an understanding that everything has its time.

I began watching food documentaries. It was time to alter my eating habits. I am an extreme believer in the law of attraction, and I knew it was time to align my spiritual being, with my physical being. I became excited in exploring the idea of becoming vegetarian, and one day, vegan. The journey began last winter. I watched Vegucated. I became a strict vegetarian for five months. My weakness is seafood. Currently, there’s a thin line between vegetarianism and pescetarianism. Either way, on this path I am feeling lighter in spirit, healthier at heart, happier with decision making, and at a beautiful level of peace. I am now, and always will be a work-in-progress.

The next thing on my list was to go on new adventures, which equated to quitting my job. I had to create space for new experiences, and my job was in the way. When it’s time, it’s time. Life is too short to stay in one place for too long. The lessons I was there to learn, ended. After my last day, so much began to surface: I participated in an art show as one of two exhibiting artists, spent a month practicing my spanish and exploring Colombia, and started a new job (the one I actually envisioned for myself). The space I created by leaving something I’ve been doing for so long, was filled with dreams come true. I am amazed, but it’s reassuring proof that thoughts are powerful. I am still a work in progress.

I’ve learned to become still, and listen to spiritual messages from the universe. Some of the messages came to me as I participated in guided meditations with Oprah and Deepak Chopra. Some spiritual messages were sent to me as I binge-watched youtube videos of Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday segments. I also became submerged in the Infinite Waters youtube channel, where Ralph Smart speaks on…you know what – just go check it out! Talk about morning energy! To heighten my spirituality, I joined an amazing church here in Brooklyn. It has been life-changing. I am still a work in progress.

Along this journey of self-awareness, to further the alignment of my spiritual being and physical being, I decided it was time to allow my natural hair to grow freely. You may have noticed many photos of me with braids (that was my transition period of eight months). Those braids helped me, tremendously! At the eighth month mark, and just before my 29th birthday, I did the big chop! It was such a liberating feeling, because as with all things – it’s about timing. The chop was right on time. I am still a work in progress.

I have eczema. If you have it, you know how frustrating it can be. I’ve decided to give up the prescriptions. My body care products now consist of natural body oils (coconut, avocado, mango, tea tree, etc.), Shea butters, black soap, and it ends there. No perfumes, no body sprays. I’m learning. I am still a work in progress.

Knowing that God’s plan for me is greater than the plan I have for myself is so inspiring. What a beautiful thing, to be conscious of who I am and work toward becoming a better me, and then finding out along the way that I am attaining so much more than I could have ever imagined. I am always reminded, “All things in due time.” I am…