One Foot In

     You are supposed to be writing  was the last clear thought I remember from a vision I day-dreamt after reading “Daybreak in Alabama” by Langston Hughes (my greatest inspiration to live the life of a dreamer). It would be well worth your while to take a look at the poem  to check in with where we’ve come as a nation and how far we still have to go.

Let me start with some context. It’s been over a year since I’ve published my last blog. I allowed a myriad of life-type issues to get in the way of my writing but I kept a journal for the ‘big’ things. As most are aware, America has had quite a few ‘big’ things going on. I’ve mourned and decided it was time to post this (hopefully) conversation provoking work.

I live one foot in the world he dreamt of. One foot, because we have moved beyond draining pools and dragging ‘fools’ who have touched the belongings of their white brothers. It pains me to write this, but there was a time that my generation  tends to forget when our parents and grandparents were no strangers to strange fruit.

No, I live in a time where it is sometimes okay to say hateful things because “I have a friend that’s [insert certain race, color, religion, or sexual preference here]”. Sidenote: your friend or family member is not the designated representative for all of their ‘kind’.

I saw how abstract it was when he described “black and white black white black people” (Hughes). His imagery of all colors in the rainbow built up to a climax of everyone “touching everybody with kind fingers… natural as dew” (Hughes) because for him, that could only happen in a dream. So in my vision, I saw a light sparking between the interlocked fingers of children of all shades of colors. In a flash, it zoomed from their hands to the view o the earth from the moon as the sun rose behind it. Fast forward to how it is now in America, more specifically, Small Town, CA where it is more than normal to have friends of all makes, models, and styles. You can get your friend, relative, baby-daddy, BFF, and whoever else any way you order it. Even scientists have figured out how to customize babies!

All joking aside, we must remember that the pain suffered by others in the past continues to hurt people now. It’s better to talk it out peacefully, read about it, try to understand where someone is coming from in life before we quite literally build a wall to keep them out.

We cannot truly come together until we stop sweeping history under the rug and trying to ignore it. It’s gotten to the point where we are constantly tripping over the pile of shit under the fabric of our nation. That pile is made of all sorts of despicable, detestable, and deplorable history. (The Trail of Tears, Japanese internment camps, La Causa for farm workers of America, the War on Drugs…) In the words of T. Swift “Band-aids don’t fix bullet holes”.

All that to say, one day when I become a writer, I’m going to write about the people who inspire me. I’ll write about how proud I am to be who I’ve come from, where I’ve come from, and what I’ve come from. I hope that like all those who have inspired me to face my fears and follow my dreams, my light will shine just enough for someone else’s to shine even brighter.

There’s enough sun for everyone to shine and enough moon for us all to howl!

Peace, blessings, and above all…

LOVE.

Encourage yourself

I am going to bed grateful.
Despite what lies ahead, I will wake up thankful.
When negativity surrounds me and hate threatens my walk,
I’ll be steadfast in peace and let only Love talk.
There is no darkness that can stop me,
nor challenge too great to overcome.
No evil thing can ever rob me
of the joy I’ve already won.
This is my vow;
to myself and to the world.
I will let my light shine
and pray that you all shine yours.

On Fear

Until now, I have opened with a picture of a pretty flower and a quote given the topic of the week. Be that as it may, there’s no flower for fear. Fear inhibits growth. It casts shadows on beauty and it has the power to salt your earth. If ever there were an opposite of love it is fear.

“Fear is the energy which contracts, closes down, draws in, runs, hides, hoards, harms. Love is the energy which expands, opens up, sends out, stays, reveals, shares, heals. Fear wraps our bodies in clothing, love allows us to stand naked. Fear clings to and clutches all that we have, love gives all that we have away. Fear holds close, love holds dear. Fear grasps, love lets go. Fear rankles , love soothes. Fear attacks, love amends.”

Walsch, Neale Donald (1996-10-29). Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue, Book 1 (p. 25). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

I’m at a pretty cool point in my life where I can truly feel the weight and power of all the decisions I make. The cause and effect of life and having the power to choose what you cause to come into effect is what creating your life is ALL about! We all have the power to choose… everything! The power of choice is amazing! If you wanted, no, if you chose to, you could pack up and leave tomorrow. Go anywhere. Most people don’t choose to pack up and leave because… we all have our reasons. What if the reason keeping you where you are right now was based in fear? Is it? Sure, there is such a thing as a healthy fear. It’s probably a good thing to have a healthy fear of large flesh eating animals, right? But a healthy fear of a ferocious bear and a healthy fear of pursuing your dreams don’t quite fit into the same universe.

Maybe you’re in a good place (spiritually, physically, emotionally, etc.) Could you do better? What’s keeping you from that? Is it fear?

Humans aren’t much higher than animals in the respect that most of our actions are based on fear. It’s what we’ve been taught. Where we choose to live, where we choose to work, how we raise our children are all commonly rooted in the fear of what will happen if we don’t pick the right stuff, and do the right things.

Please understand this is not a call for anarchy. Nor am i suggesting we’re all doing it wrong. Nevertheless, the people in history who were not afraid to break the rules and deal with the consequences are the ones who soared above the competition (so to speak). Look at the great scientists, inventors, and philosophers. They were not afraid when people said they were insane or wasting their time. Look at the philanthropists, the speakers, the activists. They were not afraid of helping those everyone else had turned their backs on. Look at the leaders of our world’s religions. They stood up for what they believed in down to the very last breath. All those greats were people just like you and me. They had to fight through circumstances just like you and me. They had to deal with day-to-day life just like you and me. Because they chose to act in love, not fear, all those people changed the world.

Maybe that’s too vague. Let’s make it personal. I have a little theory that saying what you’re afraid of is like facing your fear. Once you face it, whatever it is, it’s no longer as scary.

Say: _________ scares me.

Did that help? Even a little? Hmmm, how’s about a story?

I was on my way to school about 7 years ago. It was the first heavy rain of the fall and still early in the morning so all the mud from the crops hadn’t washed away. I was driving an okay speed, but would have slowed down had I noticed how people’s tires were spinning out as they left the red light. As I approached the merge lane I realized I was going too fast for my tires to catch and slammed onto my brakes. They locked up and I went headfirst into the stop light. The airbags went off and the front windshield had cracked. I’m pretty sure I could feel every drop of blood pumping through my veins as I checked to see that I wasn’t hurt and no one else was either. Fast forward one year. It was the first heavy rain of the fall season and I was on my way to school. Over the summer I had gotten used to driving that route again since it shaved a good ten minutes off my commute. This day was different because it was just like the day the accident happened. I thought I was over the fear until I felt how tightly I was gripping the steering wheel. I couldn’t control the tears streaming out of my eyes. And for the life of me I could not get my breathing under control. I was hyperventilating. I just kept thinking, you can beat this… go… you’re stronger than this… you got it. Sure enough at about 8 mph I crawled through that mother-loving intersection!! It never bothered me again. But I’ll never forget the day I faced my fear.

There I was thinking I had it under control until the right conditions came along and I was almost paralyzed with fear.  I still try to use that drive as an example that I am a conqueror. I try to remember that energy and mindset that I would win. This fear would not have control over me. The strength it took to control my instincts that wanted to stop the car and turn around.

Every fear you face won’t be so dramatic. But facing that fear could have consequences that really do change people’s lives and in turn, the world. What if that idea your friend said was stupid could change people’s lives? What if that song you write touches someone deeply? What if that book you write, that work you do, that adventure you want to take does something special for someone? What if you were too afraid to follow through with any of those things? Fear will hold you back every time and it does no one any good. Love will set you and others free. Love grows and fear kills. If love is fertilizer for your garden, fear is the salt. Choose wisely.

Please comment- it’s an ongoing struggle to choose not to fear… any suggestions???

Watch John Legend and Common’s Stirring Acceptance Speeches at the Oscars

TIME

After controversy over perceived snubs for its cast and director, Selma has an Oscar. Its emotional, resonant theme song “Glory” won the Best Original Song trophy for performers and songwriters Common and John Legend.

The rapper and the singer had previously performed the song during the Oscar ceremony as well as at the conclusion of this month’s Grammy Awards. The song has charted on the Hot 100, making it the third consecutive hit song to win this prize, after Adele’s title song from Skyfall and “Let It Go” from Frozen. But the relevance of “Glory” has less to do with chart performance than with its lyrical references to recent events in Ferguson, Mo.

In his acceptance speech, Common linked the civil rights movement to similar movements in France and Hong Kong. “The spirit of this bridge connects the kid from the South Side of Chicago, dreaming of a better…

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Patience

Aster symbolizes patience. It is also indicative of a love of variety. It also symbolizes elegance and daintiness

Aster symbolizes patience. It is also indicative of a love of variety. It also symbolizes elegance and daintiness

Last year I planted bulbs of lily flowers and some other kind of border mix. The border mix sprouted quickly and they were fully bloomed within just a few short weeks. The lilies took FOREVER!!!! They took so long to sprout I thought they died under the ground so I dug them up just to see if they were doing anything under there. They were. My lack of patience caused me to damage the roots and I am pretty sure that’s why even after they finally sprouted, they all died before their first winter.

Of all the virtues, patience is one I struggle with most. People think I have patience because I have patience with other people. Truth is, I’m just used to people. No matter the shape, size, or background, at the end of the day we’re all human with wants and desires and I just deal with people well. Now, tell me to wait in line for more than 5 minutes and you’ll see how much patience I really have! (The answer is little to none.)

I have patience, as we all do, I just don’t apply it in every situation. Like every other red-blooded dreamer I want to reach my goals. But I want them NOW. I want to travel, and have, and do, and be, all right now. Why is patience such a big deal? Parents constantly tell their antsy children to be patient. The Bible, Quran, and other religious texts all tell us what an important virtue it is to have. If you don’t wait patiently you’re doing it wrong, they say. Well, what’s the alternative? Why should I do something or be something just because everyone else says so? Personal experience says patience just works better if you desire a peaceful life. Impatience is basically worry- you get anxious and start worrying about things you don’t have control over. Patience is chilling out while you let things get worked out. Do what is necessary to produce the desired results, and let the rest go. If I had been patient with my garden, I would have some beautiful deep purple and orange lilies to post pictures of.

I started making progress in growing patience as far as life goals are concerned when I began living for right now and not being so worried about later. I take care (most days) to make choices in the present that will get me to my goals in the future and watch the future all fall into place. I began focusing on being grateful for what I had in front of me rather than being concerned with what’s not here yet. So far it’s working. I learned that once I plant a seed it’s not up to me to pull the roots out and make it grow. My job is to water it and love it and that seed will flourish on its own. Impatience can be a sickness. What’s the need in worrying about something you’ve already been promised, something you know in your heart will happen (eventually). Why ruin what’s in store for you by wallowing in sadness about what’s NOT here instead of rejoicing for what’s to come? It’s all about how you choose to be. Despite your circumstances, will you choose to be joyful, peaceful, loving, courageous, and patient? Or will you choose doubt, suffering, fear, and worry?

Buddhism says it this way: “Patience isn’t passive; it’s motivated by an acceptance of and compassion for suffering rather a desire to eradicate it. When we feel impatient with our relationships, our work, or our spiritual practice, we need to realize that we are resisting how things are. A sense of humor and curiosity about our lives can also help us confront impatience.” http://www.tricycle.com/practice/finding-patience

The Quran teaches that for those who exercise patience, Allah will help and show a way out of every difficulty.

This scripture about patience got me through some extremely low points in life. It basically says there is no reason to be worried or anxious about anything that comes your way because God can protect you with a peace that you don’t even understand. You can have peace on the inside while all hell breaks loose on the outside if you choose. Philippians 4:6-7 “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”.

Patience is like a spiritual exercise. Just like physical exercise for the body, it’s tough at first but if you stick with it you come out stronger.

Cheers to your spiritual growth everyone! Be love.

Pruning- Making the necessary cuts

I inherited my grandma’s garden when I moved into her house. She was very meticulous about her plants and flowers so I made sure to baby them. I didn’t know much about it at first but I really got into it fast. Gardening became my prayer closet, my meditation time, and whatever type of self therapy you want to call it. There was a clear and definite correlation between spending at least 10-15 min per day out in the garden and my feeling of mental balance. I saw when winter came and I hurt my foot I was more foggy than usual. Some of the dumb decisions I made were an indication of my lack of clear-headedness. Don’t be fooled either, gardening isn’t for the weak or the impatient. You have a beautiful yard one day and a few days later it’s time to prune, dig, pull, and sweat all over again.

Call me crazy, but yes… I talk to my plants, especially when I’m trimming and pruning. I thought I would be funny one day and started saying, “Oh you’re such a pretty flower! Thank you for your beauty, sorry I have to cut you.” Then it sort of became a habit. But I’ll tell you what; those roses bloomed like they were showing off for me! I’ve heard people say they’ve found God or a connection with God in nature. There really is an incredible sense of oneness found between you and the tiny ecosystem that carries on night and day. You understand the balance each creature brings to it simply by performing its daily tasks. The garden begins to speak to you about life because it is life, just on a smaller scale. Stay with me now, maybe you don’t garden. Maybe you lift weights, or run, or paint. Have you ever felt that oneness with your craft? Have you ever been looking for an answer to a situation in life and it just ‘hit you’ all of a sudden? I think that’s God talking. When I connect with the garden I connect with God and those times when things just ‘hit me’ happen much more when I meditate consistently.

I learned quickly to keep the plants pruned too. If you let it go too long, certain plants start to get out of control and take over. I think when I stayed on top off my gardening and meditation time, I also stayed on top of pruning things in my life. I stayed on top of the simple things like watching my junk food intake and taking care of my body. The major things were clearer to me too, like certain relationships. Those are probably the toughest things in life to keep pruned. Some relationships start off beautiful but turn out to be weeds that need to be pulled up from the root so they don’t grow back. Some relationships aren’t so pretty at first, but when they bloom, wow! Some grow fast and wild and if you don’t keep them cut back (spending limited amounts of time perhaps) they have a tendency to get in the way of more than what you bargained for.

Like I said, pruning isn’t easy. You need the right gloves on so you don’t get pricked. You need to be aware of what you’re cutting so you don’t cut out and kill the wrong things. You need to have a visual knowledge of what’s growing in your yard. It takes some skill, and learning from your mistakes, and sometimes you have to kill some bugs or critters to protect your plants and hard work. The cool part is you get to create and shape your yard exactly how you want it. And you can do the same thing with your life if you put in the work. As I say these things addressed to ‘you’ I’m reminding myself to do the same.

So cheers, to breaking up with that toxic boyfriend or girlfriend. Cheers to leaving that job that makes you want to cry at the thought of walking through the doors. Cheers to telling that friend, “Thanks, but no thanks for the invite. I’ve got some business to take care of.” It’s not easy to move on. It’s great to take some time to reflect on what good has come from the thing you’re about to cut off. Just don’t reflect too long and not make the necessary cuts. Cut with love. Love for yourself and that other person or situation. Be thankful for what was and thankful for what’s to come. Because after you trim some things, you get to take a step back and say “How beautiful!”

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

Thankyou  Silver lining mama for this nomination! It’s really cool to know I’m being heard. it took me a week to respond to the nomination but I wanted to put my full attention into it so I can share the love. Here are the seven nominees I chose- I hear y’all!

  1. Reflections
  2. Travel with Intent
  3. MK pix
  4. galeweithers
  5. Finding my Inner Zen
  6. Deborah the Closet Monster
  7. Teacup Full of Whisky

Now here’s what you have to do:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site
  • Put the Award logo on your blog
  • Answer the ten questions sent to you
  • Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer (i’m sticking with these, great questions :D)
  • Nominate seven blogs
  1. In one word, how would you like your readers to describe your blog?

inspirational

  1. Which is your most favorite among your blog posts? Why?

I only have three posts so far, but my favorite is the first sprouts, just because its an introduction and I think it’s too early to choose.

  1. What/Who inspires most of your blog posts?

My wonderful grandmother is my inspiration for them all

  1. What do you aspire to accomplish this year?

Financial health and starting the novel I have put off for too long.

  1. What do you aspire to learn this year?

I want to master the power of my words so that they multiply positivity.

  1. What is your most favorite book? Why?

There is a series of books called Conversations With God by Neale Donald Walsh. They have truly changed my life and my outlook on humanity as a whole.

  1. What is your most favorite quote?

Hold fast to dreams for if they die, life is like a broken-winged bird that cannot fly. –Langston Hughes

  1. What is the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?

Decided not to go to law school

  1. If you can be a superhero, what is your superpower?

The ability to fit into any situation, setting, or group of people with or without being noticed.

  1. Who is your female role model?

Maya Angelou (my mother is a close second, sorry mom)