Currently I’m…

It’s been a while. Before diving in to a topic, I wanted to catch you up on what I’ve been up to. I’m planning to get back into my weekly routine again. As you will see below this Summer has been intense!

Reading… I’ve been reading social media primarily and spiritual books. I created a list on Twitter called Sources of Light. Here are the Twitter Handles currently included on that list in no particular order:

  • @TheSerpentCast
  • @MillennialTarot
  • @OshunsM
  • @Neptunebbys
  • @AmeliaQuint
  • @thejessicadore
  • @blackgirlinom
  • @LalahDelia
  • @drcrystaljones
  • @blksoltheory
  • @TatiannaTarot
  • @jessicalanyadoo
  • @moonandquartz
  • @thehoodwitch
  • @TheMidheaven
  • @oldewaysbrujo
  • @ashleighdjay
  • @graphicMedium
  • @starsmoonandsun
  • @angelicabastien
  • @JSoAbove
  • @TheMeccanism
  • @heymysticmamma
  • @chaninicholas
  • @GabyHerstik
  • @YungKundalini
  • @amberjfinney

The nice thing about the Twitter List Feature is that you can name your list whatever you want and then you can add whichever handles you want to it. When you click on the list, you will only see the timelines of those who have been added.

Playing… More than last Summer, I have been really being intentional about getting out in Chicago. I attended Pitchfork Festival to see Chaka Khan, Dram and Lauryn Hill, and I also have gone to a few social events including Sophistiratchet Radio’s Brunch-n-Trap Event (thanks to my Bestie Jamila for the invite).

Watching… My favorite TV Shows currently on the air are Queen Sugar, Love Is, Insecure & Power. The season finales of Queen Sugar and Love Is aired this week, so they won’t be back until 2019, but one of my other favorite shows Greenleaf comes back next week. Most of my favorite shows are on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network). It is so encouraging to see a black woman be able to green light and provide a platform for such rich, beautiful content about black people. I pray that as I pursue and achieve my personal goals that I can continue to make room and create opportunities for others.

Trying… Honestly I’ve been removing the word “try” from my vocabulary. I believe that “try” is like a chicken exit to not do something. Either it is… or it isn’t. If I am still in “try” mode there is usually something else there to unpack… fear, reluctance, etc.

Cooking… My hubby was away more often than he was home for most of 2018. He has been home for about a month and I have been practically living in my kitchen. This week alone I made 3 new recipes – Spinach Enchiladas, Chicken Gumbo (I bought boneless or filet chicken thighs and non-pork Chicken Andouille Sausage). and Tonight I’m making Teriyaki Wings. I won’t link to the recipe until I taste it to make sure it is actually good! The first two recipes will definitely be in regular rotation.

Eating… I’ve been eating well. Drinking more water and cutting out sugar. I’ve set some health goals for my birthday in January and eating well is a big part of my ability to achieve those goals.

Drinking… Since I’ve been hanging out more socially, I’ve discovered that my favorite alcoholic drink besides Moscato Di’Asti, and Prosecco is a Mai Tai.

Calling… my bestie more often. We have the best conversations…

Texting… using lots of Emojis and GIFs.

Pinning… I’ve been thinking a lot about my Fall Wardrobe. The weather today felt very Fall-like. Fall is also my favorite season. You can check out my latest Pins here.

Tweeting… I’ve been super active on all of my social media platforms. My favorite thing to do is watch TV and Tweet at the same time. You find the hashtag for the show to see what everyone else is saying and you can contribute to the conversation. Most of the time I’m laughing and having super insightful and reflective conversations with people who are taking in the same content. It’s pretty amazing.

Crafting… I’m working on a major craft project that involves crystals and gemstones. I’m hoping to have some things to unveil no later than the beginning of October.

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Caption: Beads for an upcoming project. 

Scrapping… My honey and I took the most epic road trip. We drove from LA to Tucson, AZ, to Marfa, TX, to Dallas, TX to my family reunion in Atkins, Arkansas, and back home to Chicago. We drove 7 – 8 hours during the day and then would hang out in a different town each night. We had a chance to see places in America that we’d never see, catch up and spend some good quality time together. I’m excited to scrapbook that trip. My husband jumped out of a plane for the 60th Annual Air and Water Show with the Golden Knights. I have of ton of pics. I have to order prints from my favorite Printer – Persnickety Prints and then I can get busy.

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Doing… Exercise. I’ve been back in the saddle for two weeks now and it feels great. Someone asked me if I’d gone Vegan recently because my skin looks so good. I said no, but have significantly increased my water intake and I’ve added exercise back into my life.

Going… Connected to my craft project I’ve found a wholesale Bead Store in Downers Grove that I’d like to go to. First I need to make a list of the beads I’d like to purchase.

Loving… Life. This has been a great summer.

Discovering… myself. I finished up a journal that started in April of 2017 recently. I started writing in new journal today and look forward to continuing to work on and with myself.

Enjoying… So every night before I go to bed, I usually watch my two favorite Instagram Comedians – @iamzoie and @yep_im_kajun. I really enjoy falling asleep laughing every night and the first thing I remember when I wake up is going to bed laughing!

Thinking… As the organization I’ve founded Art of Culture Inc. has been undergoing a rebrand from Donda’s House Inc. it has given me the opportunity to really comb through our business model, our infrastructure and our future. I can’t wait to share publicly some of the things I’ve been thinking about! Stay tuned…

Feeling… productive! The sun is in Virgo, and since my Moon is in Virgo, this feels like a really good time for me. Eclipse season really tore me up! I’ve been feeling grounded and rooted and I am certain that is because of the energy of the earth sign!

Hoping for… I’m doing some consulting work and I just put in a bid for a major client. I am hopeful that the contract will come through as I am super excited about what I can bring to the table for them!

Listening to… my Spotify workout playlist almost daily and “Whipped Cream” by Ari Lennox. I’ve also had “Mood” by dvsn on repeat and “Ooh Nah Nah” by SiR featuring Masego.

Celebrating… my company’s 5th year Anniversary was 8/1! We’re planning a super cool Pop Up Event on 9/30! We’re also planning for our first gala in February.

Smelling… I burn a Frankincense and Myrrh Incense Stick every morning when I first wake up and I believe that is my favorite scent right now. I’m also loving the Black Cherry Merlot candle from Bath & Body Works.

Thanking… God, my ancestors and my loved ones for holding me down and making me feel so loved.

Considering… Halloween Costumes. Think I’m going to take a trip to NOLA with the hubby for Halloween. I haven’t been since Mardi Gras and I usually go every 3 – 4 months! It’s been 5 months and way too long.

Finishing… our rebranding work. My amazing team and volunteers have been meeting with me weekly for 90 minutes – 2 hours to discuss updating our documents, policies, mission & vision, etc. We present our work to our larger community on Saturday and have an internal deadline of September 1st for everything to be done.

Starting… two new Media Projects. Hubby and I are starting a podcast together soon and we’re working on a book. More details coming soon about both!

How To Practice More Self Love

According to the National Science Foundation, “the average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80% are negative and 95% are exactly the same repetitive thoughts as the day before.”

What this means is that every single day, the average person is thinking the same ugly, disturbing thoughts about themselves, other people and the world. This also means that we are basically repeating the same cycles, living the same life and going through the motions every single day.

I am here to interrupt my regularly scheduled program, and yours too. The human brain is a POWERFUL mechanism… think about all of the things that exist because of its brilliance! From the time I turned 25 until about now, I’ve been on this intense path of rewriting my script. I am now 6 months away from my 35th birthday, and now more than ever, I have this intense desire to share what I’ve learned.

How To Practice More Self Love

  • Write a love letter to yourself.  What do you love about yourself? Why are you proud of yourself? When was a time that you came through for yourself in a bind? What makes you beautiful? What is something that you have or can do that no one else has or can do?
  • Write down affirmations and at regular intervals read them. It is not always easy to just think positive thoughts. Sometimes we need tools. Take some index cards and copy down words of encouragement and positive affirmations. Take them out of your bag and read them at the top of every hour. Read them before meals. Read them when you first wake up and when you go to bed.
  • Listen to music that is affirming. Create a playlist of songs that are inspirational and motivational. I have a few of these playlists and will type them up and share them out later this week. I’ll share three of my favorites. “Flawless” by Beyonce. “Satisfaction” by Eve. “Brown Skin” by India Arie. Make these songs a regular part of your routine to combat the negative thinking that happens.
  • Express love and gratitude to others. When someone does something nice for you, send them an e-mail of gratitude describing what they did and how it made you feel. If someone inspires you online, send them a DM or a message about how grateful you are. Gratitude opens up the portal for more blessings, not because you’re going to necessarily get anything new, but because you will start to realize the many ways that your life is abundant… that your prayers are being answered… that your life today is better than it was yesterday… a week ago… five years ago… Gratitude is like putting on another pair of glasses. It changes everything.

So those are the nice and somewhat easy ways to express self-love. Here are more ways to express self-love that may be more challenging. At least these have been more challenging to me.

  • Saying no. Peer pressure is a motha. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve agreed to something or said yes just because I wanted to save face, not disappoint someone or not hurt someone else’s feelings. No is one of the first words that we learn, but it is also one that as we get older we start to use less and less. You have the right to determine how you want to spend your time. Who you want to spend time with. The other person will live… and so will you.
  • Allowing your self the grace of changing your mind, walking away or opting out. This is an extension of saying no. Sometimes how we feel today is not how we feel tomorrow. Circumstances change. Our energy changes. Our needs change. If something is not right for you, you have to right to exit or leave it alone. Now you have to do this with great sensitivity because everything that we do impacts other people, but do what you need to do. If you are quitting your job, and there is a two week notice, don’t quit today out of spite (unless your safety or health is at risk). Give them the two weeks notice and move along gracefully and graciously.
  • Value what you bring to the table. Don’t undersell yourself or cut yourself short. If your time is worth $1,000 an hour, then that’s what it’s worth. When I am going into a situation where I have to negotiate, I sometimes write out a list of what I’m bringing to the table and a dollar amount for each. I have an idea of what I’m willing to accept at the minimal and why. This is something that doesn’t just work for me in my head. I literally have to write it out in advance of the negotiation and before making a final commitment, I always say, “I will get back to you.”
  • Allowing yourself time. I picked up this tip from Myleik Teele. You can always ask for more time to think about something. Don’t allow people to pressure you into giving them a response or an answer. I often use the terms “bandwidth” or “capacity.” I will tell someone, I’m working on limited capacity. I need time to consider. Time is our most precious commodity. Now it is important that you honor what you say you’re going to do if you ask for more time. At least you are giving yourself the gift of more consideration, the opportunity to weigh out and explore more options, the opportunity to research, so that when you do return with a response or a decision, it is well thought-out and you can live with it.
  • Charting your own path. One of my favorite quotes is “comparison is the thief of joy.” Put two people who do exactly the same job side by side. I guarantee that they will describe very different pathways. Put two people who were born on the same day. I guarantee that their lives will look very different. There are 7.4 billion people on this planet. That means there are 7.4 billion different ways of thinking… of dreaming… of resting… of being fulfilled. Your life is yours alone and you have the right to live it however you want to.
  • Treating your physical body well. This one is probably the hardest one on the list for me personally. I often go with what feels (and tastes) good for my body, not necessarily what is good for my body. This looks like an addiction to sugar. An aversion to working out and a physical body that isn’t worked out enough. I am still working on this one, but I know that it starts with my mind and being more balanced in how I approach what I eat and what I do(in terms of physical activity). If any of you guys have had success with kicking the sugar addiction, please leave your comments below. If you have been able to make working out a regular part of your routine, please let me know how. My goal is to lose my age (35 lbs) before my birthday.
  • Stop waiting for someone else to come along to receive the type of love you want. Take yourself out on dates. Buy yourself nice gifts. Love on yourself (literally and figuratively). Write love letters to yourself. Say nice things to yourself (like “Good morning gorgeous.” “You can do this.”). Wrap yourself in nice fabrics (my favorite is cashmere and satin). Get massages and facials regularly. Eat good meals. Buy yourself chocolate covered strawberries. Buy yourself flowers. This pattern of self love will only be reflected to you when people come into your life. I’ve been blessed with a very healthy and affirming marriage. I have amazing friends who love and support me. I truly believe that is because I started doing all of those things for myself, so when people come into my life, they pick up on the cues. I am totally and completely in love with myself… but that was not always the case. I encourage you to be totally and completely in love with you. It’s not a permanent thing. Every day I have to wake up and first make the decision to love myself and then do actions that confirm and make that decision true.

 

 

How To Manifest

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Caption: A list of my goals from 2004. 

I am a huge believer in the law of attraction, in energy, and in our ability (in collaboration with the spirit realm) to manifest certain things into our lives. I have been in intense study for the last year or so, learning best practices and the methodology behind manifestation.

My earliest memory of manifestation starts with High School. I used to write these lists of my future goals, two of included graduating from college and eventually starting an organization. I am happy to know that those two things have happened. Here are some tips for manifesting things in your own life.

1. Bring the idea from your head & heart into the real world. Use all 5 of your senses in order to actualize what you want to manifest into the real world. What would it look like? What does it sound like? What does it taste, smell and feel like? You can create a vision board and/or journal to really get your ideas out of your head and into the world.

2. Speak to trusted people about the idea. When you verbalize what you want, you are that much closer to manifesting it. Especially when you speak to people who love you and care for you and want to see you have your hearts desires.

3. Ensure that people will not be harmed or minimize harm as much as possible (to avoid the cosmic/karmic boomerang). When it comes to manifestation, things are generally going to work out for your greater good and for the greater good of others. Be sure that in manifesting your desires you aren’t causing harm to others, because that may be the reason why your desires won’t manifest.

4. Make room in your life for whatever it is that you want. If you want to manifest a new business, start the process by securing the domains and social media handles. Begin writing your business plan. If you want to manifest love, take yourself on dates and give yourself the love you want from another. Create literal space and time in your life for whatever you are calling into your life.

5. Be sure that what you want is intrinsically motivated. Do not try to manifest something that is really to impress or please others. That’s not genuine or authentic, and you may in fact get it but be unhappy or unfulfilled. Manifestation has to be about you and your contribution to the universe.

6. Realize that time is more complicated than just dates… there are seasons… Understand that we do not have control over when things manifest in our lives. Sometimes it happens quickly… sometimes it can take years, but ultimately when and if it does happen, it will be at the time that is most appropriate for your life. Don’t give up faith and hope. Keep living life and before you know it, you will be looking at what you wanted actualized. Ecclisiastes 3 is one of my favorite verses:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?

10 I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.

11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

12 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.

13 And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.

14 I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.

15 That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.

16 And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.

17 I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.

18 I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.

19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.

20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.

21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?

22 Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?

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Caption: A list of my goals at 18 years old. I actually need to go back through and add more checks to those things that I have accomplished. 

7. Keep living and firing on all chakras (cylinders)… Manifestation is connected to gratitude. It is difficult to manifest when you are working with energy of desperation, bitterness, or anger. Be grateful for what has manifested in your life, in order to make room for more. When your fists are balled up, you aren’t able to open your hands for more blessings.

8. Have a vision but also be fluid about the execution of the vision. Things may not manifest exactly as you envisioned. For example, if you want a house, you may get a condo at a really good rate. Ultimately the house is about ownership, and the universe may give you want you want in another form.

9. Do the work… What you want isn’t just going to fall out of the sky. You actually have to do the work!

10. Do the research… Do your due diligence to figure out the steps to manifest your dreams. Is there a financial component? Do you need to hire consultants or contractors (in the case of interior design or real estate)? Do you need a stylist or photographer? Write out the steps from idea to manifestation, and do your research so that you can know what you are getting yourself into.

11. Connect with others who have already manifested what you’d like to see in your life and LEARN. You will not likely be the first to manifest or the last. Try to connect with others who are doing what you want to do, or who have what you want to have and learn. Not from the perspective of jealousy or envy, but from the perspective of being a student of their success. Remember that you may not be able to take the same exact path that they took, but you can certainly learn lessons from them.

12. Be reflective. Think about what you are learning about yourself and others as you work to manifest. You are likely going to learn lessons about patience. About collaboration. About resilience. Be sure that you learn the lessons intended for you. Healers often say that lessons in life repeat until we learn what we need to learn. Do you find yourself facing similar challenges over and over again? There may be a lesson or a “board” that you haven’t been able to pass, but need to in order to get to the next level.

13. Understand that everything that is supposed to happen will happen and that just because you want something to manifest it may not…. but even that is ultimately for the greater good. “What’s meant to be will be.” “If it comes, let it. If it goes, let it.”

14. Listen to your gut & your intuition. It is truly the 6th sense. In addition to the 5 senses, there is a 6th sense. Your intuition/your gut. It is just as valid in terms of processing information as the other senses, and some even argue that it is more helpful in processing information. Don’t be afraid to follow that little voice, or that feeling in your stomach.

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Caption: A list of my goals from college. The checkmarks represent those things that have been accomplished. I actually need to update it because I have more things to check off. 

15. Pray. Don’t underestimate the power of prayer! Pray to your God! Write letters to your God. Speak to your God. Prayer is significant, as I believe that we need spiritual guidance or spiritual support.

16. Fast. Fasting is a spiritual act. It helps you to hear the spiritual messages and clear away the spiritual clutter. It is a form of submission, and of gaining control of the “flesh” or carnal body.

17. Seek spiritual guidance. Seek spiritual advisors (pastors and priests). Seek healers. Seek astrologers. Sometimes you may need some insight from another spiritually strong individual.

18. Use crystals and other spiritual tools that are known to hold certain energy. Here are the top crystals for manifestation:

  • Citrine (manifests abundance)
  • Quartz (amplifies your desires)
  • Rose Quartz (for manifesting love)
  • Amethyst (for manifesting wisdom & spirituality)

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Another tool that I like to use is the Vision Board. You can read more about making a vision board here.

I created an ultimate bucket list, which I call my Manifesto. Check it out here.

Is It Time To Let Him/Her Go?

Whenever the seasons start to change, I think about what, and who I need to let go. Relationships take work, and it can be a challenge to figure out and establish relationships norms. Sometimes, you have to make a decision to let someone go, and to no longer be a part of your life.

How do you know when it’s time to let someone go (friends, romantic partners, etc. )

1. It doesn’t feel good to be in their physical presence. You feel discouraged, unhappy, anxious, stressed, etc. in their presence. The vibe or the feeling that you get is probably strong. It may also be evident when your feelings change immediately before engaging with the person.

2. The individual is the common denominator of “mess” “stress” or drama in their own & potentially in your life. Generally there is a pattern of behavior that keeps being repeated over, and over, with different people.

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3. The person is verbally, emotionally, spiritually or physically abusive to you. This could also include manipulation. Abuse of any kind is not acceptable. Take the necessary steps to ensure your safety and security, and seek healing if you have been abused.

4. You’ve attempted to help the person & they are not heeding your advice (or the advice of others). You do not have the capacity or the responsibility to help everyone, especially those who are unwilling to change or make adjustments.

5. The person is a “suicide bomber” who doesn’t have anything to lose or care for. They are destructive & volatile & its only a matter of time before they destroy you or things that you care about. Be careful with people who are willing to do anything to hurt or harm others. That same venom could eventually be turned on you.

6. The person doesn’t respect the boundaries that you’ve established. They call or text when you’ve asked them not to. They share confidential information with others. Express your desires and your feelings, and if someone doesn’t respect that, it may be time to let them go.

7. The relationship is one sided. You seem to be the only person investing in the relationship or friendship. You feel used, depleted or taken for granted.

8. Other people that you love & that love you express concern or notice red flags and it may be more than just one person in your life. EVERYBODY in your family isn’t crazy, or “hating.” People that love you may pick up on things you can’t see. Especially if you are “blinded” by love.

9. The person is regularly dishonest with you, so the trust has eroded, and non existent. Trust is the foundation of any healthy relationship. Once trust is violated, it requires great care to rebuild it.

10. When you think about the future, you envision yourself and your life better without this other person. Close your eyes and imagine your future. Do you have positive or negative feelings when you consider the other person’s role in your future?

Why I Love Crystals…

My grandmother used to live in a housing complex called Holy Temple when I was a little girl. I have such fond memories of living there with my grandmother. What I remember the most was that behind her complex was “the woods” and attached to the facade of the building were these stones that my cousins and I would call crystals. My cousins and I would regularly pry crystals off the building and I remember being told to “stop messing with those crystals.” In my little girl mind they were endless. Thinking back they were both clear and pink. Likely clear quartz and rose quartz.

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Caption: Me holding Smoky Quartz with inclusions. 

Growing up I was a tomboy and I enjoyed spending most of my time outside. I was most happiest when I could climb trees and be out in nature. Sidebar: Once, my cousin Vanecia and I were determined to build a real tree house. We created a floor using mesh wire, added carpet, and even had plans to call the phone company to get telephone service. We found all of the materials for the tree-house scavenging around the neighborhood. The tree was located in the back yard of our apartment. Kansas City Trees were made to be scaled and climbed and apparently developed into housing lol. Your girl has always been resourceful!

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Caption: A labradorite heart my husband bought me for my birthday. Visually this is one of the most magical stones. It literally looks like it has light inside of it. 

In High School I became obsessed with Saul Williams. His poetry and his writings inspired me to do research. His first project was called “Amethyst Rock Star,” and he frequently talked about Saturn. You can learn more about Saul here. I started looking up “amethyst” and “Saturn,” and getting into astrology, but it was astrology light, because I didn’t move beyond my Sun Sign.

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Caption: Me holding a large piece of my favorite stone – CITRINE! How I wish I would have purchased this beauty! 

Fast forward to now. The last year or so I have found myself returning to nature and the earth. I have found myself craving ground & being grounded. When I had a miscarriage with my first child in December of 2011 while 5 months pregnant, I found myself clinging and reaching for everything that I could grab hold to, and the one thing that I felt most connected to was God (“the source”) and Mother Nature. I also don’t think it’s an accident that one of my earliest memories is connected to a place that I used to live in called Holy Temple.

I’ve always been spiritual.

I’ve always believed that there is power in our daily spiritual practices – what we do day to day. How we treat people. What we decide to do with our time while we are here on this earth. These have all been things that I’ve thought about for as long as I can remember.

Currently, I have a pretty large collection of crystals. I like crystals because:

(1) When I hold them, I feel something. Depending on the stone, I have feel warmth. I have felt my heart rate increase or decrease. I always feel something.

(2) Crystals are thousands of years old and they come from near the earth’s crust. Something about that keeps me humble and keeps me accountable for my time here. In the scheme of the universe, our presence is nothing but a “flash.” I want my flash to be meaningful and to contribute to the evolution of our species and our planet.

(3) Our ancestors used them. From the Ancient Egyptians. To the Mayans. To the Ancient Chinese. Crystals have been revered and have been a part of ancient civilizations cultural significance and collective consciousness. There is so much that we can learn about now and about the future from our ancestors. To determine the trajectory of something, one only needs to look back and follow the patterns. Check out this powerful article written by one of my favorite guides Bri Luna in Essence Magazine here.

(4) In the same way that certain foods contain vitamins and minerals, I believe that crystals contain certain properties. There is no denying the fact that the sun shining on us, has an effect on us. There is no denying the fact that plants “cleanse” the air. Why would crystals be any different?

(5) I started my next trip around the Sun almost a month ago, and I want to get better at mastering myself so that I can focus more on my assignment on this planet. It is so easy to get wrapped up in things that don’t matter (see what I did there…). That is not to say that there is no room for fun or for joy. I just have this insatiable desire to learn and to work in tandem with the energy that is me, and the energy that surrounds me. Since I am nothing but a flash, I want to give light. I want to be a spark. I want to give warmth. I want to highlight paths. I want to be able to radiate so brightly that the darkness doesn’t matter.

Helpful Resources:

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Caption: The window display at Spellbound Sky, my favorite metaphysical store, located in Los Angeles! 

If you’re looking to purchase crystals you can do a search of “Gemstone Stores,” “Crystal Stores” or “Metaphysical Shops” and they usually come up. In Chicago, I usually go to Precious Possessions in the Loop. In LA, I LOVE Spellbound Sky (I was sold when I saw the unicorn in the Window).

Upcoming Posts:
(1) Manifestation

(2) How I Organize my Crystal Collection

 

 

It’s A New Dawn So I Cut My Hair!

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I have probably rocked every hairstyle imaginable – from the Jheri Curl of my pre-K years, to beads and braids, to the locs I wore from age 16 – 24. When I turned 24, I got tired of my locs and decided to have them combed out as I craved versatility.

From there I went to sew-ins, box braids, Senegalese Twists and faux locs. My motivation for hair care has always been whatever is easiest in terms of maintenance. I enjoy my hair looking nice, but I’ve never wanted to be the one to do the maintenance myself. Even when I had my locs, I went to a loctician who would retwist my new growth and put my hair into various styles including rod sets and loc buns.

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Caption: For bad hair days, or when I don’t feel like being bothered I always rock my The Wrap Life wraps. I have about 15 of them of both the Traditional African Fabric and the solid colors. 

Around November of last year, I started getting that itch that it was time to do something else. I can always tell when it was time to get my hair done because I can’t keep my hands out of my head. Not to mention, many of the hairstyles that I was wearing, if I washed my hair the hairstyle wouldn’t look as good. Eventually the hair holds a weird odor, plus I started to get oily build up.

Many of the hairstyles I wore were considered “protective styles” meaning they were meant to protect your natural hair. However I started suffering from hair loss around my perimeter and started getting even more concerned. I’ve tried every growth treatment known to man and nothing was working.  I’ve even rocked frontals with sew-ins.

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Caption: Me before my cut. Super nervous but ready for the change. 

During my research I came across Razor Chic of Atlanta. I lived on her page inspiring by the women who had the courage to make such a drastic change to their appearance. I decided that I was going to cut my hair and that it had to be done by Razor Chic of Atlanta. I also decided to relax my hair. My natural curl pattern is so tightly coiled that with my workout routine and lifestyle, it was nearly impossible for me to manage. I booked my appointment and my travel arrangements and decided to make this change just before my birthday (which is Sunday, January 21st). I haven’t had a relaxer since I was 14 years old! Exactly 20 years ago!

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Caption: Razor Chic doing her thing. Side note: I need a ring light lol. 

Razor Chic confirmed for me many things that I knew intuitively and I’ve already learned so much and it hasn’t even been 24 hours.

(1) The braids and the weaves were too heavy for my hair. I was told to never wear them again to avoid any further damage.

(2) Wigs don’t allow the scalp to breath and in order for the hair to grow it needs Oxygen, All I could think was that most living things require Oxygen, why would my hair be any different?

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(3) It’s incredibly liberating to let go of things that are dead. I wasn’t sure how much of my natural hair we’d keep and how much I’d have to let go. There was much more dead hair than I anticipated, and now I can basically start over.,

(4) Confidence is key! No matter what you decide to do, hold your head up high and own it.

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(5) I’ve always had a love affair with accessories and now I get to showcase them. All of my earrings and necklaces were buried under my weave.

(6) Now that my scalp is breathing, I feel like my brain can breath.

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(7) My nighttime routine is so much more simple. All I have to do is sleep on a satin pillowcase. No bonnet. No scarf. It’s the simplest evening routine I’ve ever head.

(8) In the morning all I have to do is shake and go. No curling irons. No elaborate time consuming processes. A little spray sheen here and there. A quick comb and I’m done.

(9) My features are popping in all of their glory and I’m happy about that. I can see my cheekbones, my jaw line and I feel good.

(10) Razor Chic gave me several products that will help me maintain my own hair and make it healthier. Shampoo, conditioner, wrap lotion and even a special hair growth treatment for my problem areas.

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Razor Chic recommended a stylist for me in Chicago that I will see periodically to maintain my style. She told me to commit for at least one year to the cut so that I can see what my hair will do, before deciding to do anything else.

This was one of the scariest decisions I’ve ever made but I jumped. I’m thankful to my husband who supported me 100% and I’ve received so many wonderful comments on social media.

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Just wrote the first page of Chapter 34! Thankful to God that I’ve been able to revolve around the sun 34 times and hopeful for more blessings, courageous acts and radical acts of self-love and acceptance.

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Vision 2018

What a blessing to wake up to see a New Year. What a blessing to be alive!

I spent my New Year’s Eve hanging with my family. I did something I’ve never done before, I brought the New Year in with a good physical cleaning – a hot bubble bath filled with all of my favorite aromatherapeutic Lush products and a guided meditation.

In 2018 I really want to focus on growing and elevating my spirit and my internal world. Once I finished my meditation I did some journaling and then I finished my Vision Board:

Here are pieces of the board:

Full Board:

Take some time to think about who & what you are calling into your life. I hope that this is your best year ever and that it brings you the things your heart desires!

Happy New Year!

What Are We Truly Prepared For?

We all have ideas – lists, dreams, goals and wishes.

We visualize and we have all of these plans for the future money that we will make. We take test drives of the cars we want to drive (I see you Tesla!). We get fixated and obsessed with the things we hope to accomplish.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the role that preparation plays in manifesting our desires. Sometimes God, the Universe, Allah, etc. does not give us what we want because we are not prepared for it.

I’m a spiritual person and I believe in the school of thought that say God knows all and God doesn’t make any mistakes.

We see everything that we want, but we don’t always see the sacrifices that have to be made to accomplish certain things and I believe that our creator, our God knows what we have the capacity and the bandwidth to withstand & to uphold.

So what does that look like on the ground? Everybody wants to be a millionaire, but few invest the time and the energy to diversify income streams to reach that million dollar status.

Lots of people want to be married… but few have the stamina, the commitment & the resolve to sit through the hard and dark times.

Many rush to have children, but many people can be naive about how lots of the energy has to shift from ones self to caring for another human being, sometimes resulting in postponed or delayed dreams, and splintered time.

During this time of year as we reflect on the current year and make plans for next year, I encourage you to really search your heart, go in your prayer closet & ask yourself are you prepared for the things you say you want? You may not be able to answer the question right away and that’s ok, but it is a question that we all have to wrestle with, because the answer (whether we speak it aloud or not) is what the universe is manifesting, for our own good (even if we don’t see it or can’t imagine it to be so).

How Not To Freak The F*** Out In Times Of Crisis

A little over a week ago, my car was stolen while I was moving groceries in. To add insult to injury, it happened the night before my entire family was coming to Chicago to celebrate my grandmother’s 80th birthday. I was supposed to meet my mom at the airport at 8:00 a.m., and the remainder of the family members at the train station later in the day.

I immediately felt my heart rate increase, and then I felt incredible overwhelming sadness… but then I went into DC (Damage Control) Mode.

Step 1: Call The Police – When theft, or other criminal activities take place, if you can’t handle it on your own, you may need to call the police. Not to mention that a police report is often required for insurance purposes.

Step 2: Call The Insurance Company – The first thing the Insurance Company wanted to know was were the police called. I gave them a report number. Then I asked “What is the process.” I was informed that in 48 hours, I’d be eligible for a rental car, and in 14 days if the car wasn’t recovered, it would be considered a loss. In times of crisis, the best thing that you can have is information. That way your brain (and your heart) don’t have the opportunity to dream up ridiculous scenarios. Keep the foolishness in check by getting informed on your options.

Step 3: Create an immediate/temporary plan. – I have Uber & Lyft on my phone. I’ll take that to meet my mom at the airport, and then we’ll uber back. I spoke to my sister-in-law who lives across the street from me, and made arrangements to use her car later that day to pick up the rest of my family members from the Amtrak Station. She was also going out of town for the weekend, and said that I could use her car while she was away. Temporary crises of stranded family members – averted.

Step 4: Work The Plan. Once you know the steps to rectify the situation, you just work the plan. Be sure to record the names of the people who give you the information just in case there is a discrepancy later. Follow up & follow through with any additional paperwork and follow the process.

BUT WAIT… A FEW THINGS HAVE TO BE IN PLACE BEFORE THE CRISIS ACTUALLY HAPPENS!

PRE-CRISIS STEP 1: Get your paperwork in order. When it comes to property, purchase the extended warranty, the insurance, etc. All of these items seem expensive and unnecessary and the truth is that you likely won’t use it most of the time… but the one time you do need it, the peace of mind & the fees to repair or replace your product or device make it worth it in the end. I think of these things as pay now, or pay more later. In our household, anything that is over a certain amount (around $300+) gets insurance. This includes electronics, vehicles, appliances, etc. Remember to keep copies of all of the warranties and policies. I actually digitize all of my files using this and I keep all of my files organized in my Dropbox account. That way my files are easily accessible & searchable.

PRE-CRISIS STEP 2: Have a vent-partner. One of the best parts about being married is that you have a built-in vent partner. If you are not married (and even if you are married) be sure that you have someone that you can call to complain, cry, reason, laugh, etc. with. Often in times of crisis, my hubby and I bounce the responsibility back and forth so that neither of us gets burned out or overly frustrated. When it came to the first few steps of addressing the stolen vehicle, I handled the initial stages of contacting the police and the insurance company etc. Once our vehicle was recovered (thank God!) he took care of getting the estimates and dealing with the dealership to have the car serviced. My sister-in-law was instrumental in serving as my co-PI as my keys have a tracking device (TILE) which alerted me that my keys were in the area, leading to us searching the area and ultimately finding my stolen vehicle parked on the street.

PRE-CRISIS STEP 3: Copy the front and backs of all of the contents in your wallet. In the event that your purse or your wallet is stolen, you can quickly contact all of your banks and loyalty cards to get replacements. Most cards also have the phone number on the back that you should call, in case of emergency.

PRE-CRISIS STEP 4: Back up all of the contents of your computer into the cloud AND onto a hard-drive. I’ve endured at least two hard-drive crashes in my life. I’ve known friends that have been robbed at gunpoint of their briefcases and laptop bags. I have a little piece of mind knowing that all of my music, photos, important files and documents etc. are backed up using Dropbox, Google Drive, and iCloud Drive.  I’m a fan of all three systems because they are super easy to use, accessible anywhere you have the internet (let’s say you forget your laptop at home) and in many cases, other people can be given easy access to the files.

PRE-CRISIS STEP 5: Travel with a copy of your passport AND travel with at least two credit/debit cards. Anything can happen with your passport. I always keep a copy or two of my passport in different areas of my luggage. My husband recently finished a world tour with DJ Jazzy Jeff. While in Japan, an ATM machine ate his debit card. It’s important to have at least two different credit/debit cards in the event that something happens to one. One of these days I’ll have to write a whole post about crisis and travel! It really does deserve its own blog post!

PRE-CRISIS STEP 6: Learn how to use Find My iPhone and Find My Device (For Android). This has saved me so many times. Especially in situations where there was a large group and my phone or iPad went missing.

PRE-CRISIS STEP 7: Make a habit of cataloguing and keeping lists of things. This is usually a standard for home owners insurance, but you may want to get in the habit of keeping receipts and logs of your valuables so that if you need to file a claim, or if you need to replace the items, you can do so quickly and effortlessly.

PRE-CRISIS STEP 8: Write down key emergency contacts and have them easily accessible. Set up your Emergency SOS in the settings of your phone, if you have iPhone. Keep emergency contact phone numbers in your wallet, just in case you are unconscious so that members of your family can be reached.

PRE-CRISIS STEP 9: Get your car Emergency Ready. Keep your own jumper cables, and spare tire (if it can fit) in your car. Consider a membership to AAA or another road-side assistance service. Check out this article for tips on how to prepare your vehicle for Emergencies.

PRE-CRISIS STEP 10: Get your home Emergency Ready. Be sure you have a smoke detector & Carbon Monoxide Detector in your home, as well as be sure to check the batteries regularly. Do an annual fire/emergency drill in your home. Be sure that your door is labeled correctly so that people know that you have pets. Most pet stores and vets carry stickers to alert emergency personnel.

Last but not least, stay prayed up! Having a calm and faithful spirit is the best thing that you can have to regulate stress and address problems that inevitably come up in life. It is also helpful to have mechanisms for addressing stress – a healthy fitness routine, an active social life, appropriate medication and therapy where appropriate, journal writing (one of my favorite methods for processing stress and thinking through problems). If you have any helpful resources or advice, please drop them in the comments below!

NOTE: Shoutout to my sister Linedda for always encouraging me to write a book. If it be God’s will, one of these days I’ll be a New York Times/best-selling author. Writing was my first love!

What Do You Truly Believe About Yourself?

How do you know what you believe about yourself?

Pay attention to what you say out loud or to yourself when you make a mistake. Watch out for things like:

“You’re/I’m so stupid.” 

“You/I always mess things up.” 

“Of course you/I messed that up.” 

Pay attention to what you say out loud or think when you are given an opportunity.

Watch out for things like:

“I can’t believe they picked me.”

“I’m just lucky.”

“This will never happen again.”

Really evaluate what you allow people to say to you or around you. Especially friends and loved ones. There is a difference between someone who has a healthy sense of skepticism and someone who has malicious intent. It hits your ears and your heart differently. 

Notice the people who are always critical but not complimentary. Those who try to make you think or feel like you can’t do anything right.

Distance yourself from the people who always have something negative or pessimistic to say about you, your job or the world. Especially when you’re sensitive to such messages. That is a part of the reason why I am not a fan of most broadcast news. The constant stories of death and doom really affect my mood and I have to do what I have to do to protect my peace, so most of the time I turn it off. 

Pay attention to your feelings when you’re scrolling social media. If you notice yourself: 

– Constantly comparing your life to the life of others.

– With strong feelings of jealousy or resentment.

– Feeling the need to have what someone has in terms of material possessions. 

– Being a Social Media thug or bully.

It may be time to detox from social media for a day, a week or longer to cleanse your palette. When I’m feeling off spiritually, mentally or emotionally, I stay off of social media. I turn to spiritual sources or face to face encounters to balance it all out. 

How do you feel about spending time alone? If you feel super uncomfortable, there may be some negative feelings that you are harboring about yourself. Things to watch out for:

– What will other people think about me? 

– People will notice that… (irrational ideas about people being able to see an area of vulnerability or weakness).

Pay attention to how you treat your body. When faced with stress do you turn to healthy or unhealthy practices?

– drugs or alcohol to numb whatever pain exists. 

– Over or under rating to feed or starve the pain (I personally struggle with this).

– Unprotected sex or sexual experiences that you would not do or be comfortable with if you weren’t feeling stress. 

The law of attraction states “you attract what you believe you deserve.” It does not mean you attract what you say. It does not mean you attract what others believe or even say. 

Pay attention to what you truly believe about yourself & whatever you need to do to transform those beliefs, do it. 

Go inside of yourself and ask yourself why. Questioning oneself helps to get to the bottom of lots of issues. 

See a therapist & talk to a counselor. That objective (& professional) set of eyes is helpful to uncover & reveal certain things that may be suppressed.

Notice the patterns. When you notice the patterns you can predict (and change) future behavior.

Think about your whole self. We sometimes think that because we have our mental life’s together, everything else is in tact. Think about your emotional self, your spiritual self, your physical self. Even if one area is off, it has the potential to negatively impact the other areas. 

Pay attention to your parents, family and circle. I believe that not only do we inherit our looks from our parents, we also inherit a program from them. Many mental illnesses are genetic, and our parents stuff often becomes our stuff. Unpack it! When it comes to the people we choose to spend time with. It’s only natural that they impact you. You’re breathing the same air. Their waves (vibe) come crashing into yours & your waves often sync to theirs, depending on who has the strongest vibes. I believe that is what makes group think so dangerous. All of they group energy syncs up, for better of for worse. 

You cannot attract what you don’t believe you deserve. I hope this was helpful. I wrote the title of this blog last night before bed & woke up abnormally early & felt the urge to finish this piece & publish it. I hope it’s helpful for you!