What kind of life or lifestyle will help me feel free?
That’s a question I’ve been asking myself for years. In my pursuit of the answer, I’ve come to understand that freedom for me, is a feeling. Freedom is a subjective perception. What seems like freedom for one person or society, seems like imprisonment or damnation to another.
There are people who live extravagant lifestyles, who don’t feel free. There are people who live in first world countries who don’t feel free. There are people who live in secluded indigenous settings who feel free. There are people who live in third world nations, who feel free.
Freedom, as a value, has been written about by history’s greatest thinkers who’ve influenced the establishments of governments. The ideology of freedom is what has influenced the fight for human and civil rights. However, what does freedom mean to you? How do you come to a place of finding and living in it?
I have learned that learned, at any time, I have the privilege of creating the life I want, in order to feel free. The exchange, is that something in the present, will always have to be taken away or released to give room for something new in the future. Old mindsets, habits, relationships, possessions, and environments must be set aside to usher in new. To live a life of freedom, we must let go of what exists in the state that we consider ourselves to not feel free in.
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Life is always happening. Stressors are constantly coming our way. Under heightened periods of stress, it is so easy to either throw ourselves into staying busy or completely vegging out on unhealthy foods and mindless activities.
However, there are practices and tools we can utilize to support our self care. When one thinks of self care, you can be inclined to think of massages, nail spas or hair salons. Yes that may be one form, but there are simple, affordable and natural tools that you can utilize to combat stress.
When it comes to stress, it is important to know, that your body is responding to external stimuli on a neurological, physiological and energetic level. Most of the time when we are "stressed", we do not even perceive it because consciously we are built with protective factors and operate thru resilience. Regardless if our conscious selves process all of our stressors, its beneficial to have tools that stabilize us neurologically, physiologically, and energetically.
-Burn Something Edifying
Burning herbs, woods, and incense to clear energies, bless bodies, and purify the atmosphere of the home is an ancient practice utilized indigenous, African, Asian, and LatinX cultures.
Look for these scents which are known to have a positive effect on the nervous system. They may reduce feelings of nervousness, anxiety and stress. Lavender, eucalyptus, jasmine, vanilla, and sandalwood.
Sage, Palo Santo, or Incense
These are shorter burning items, that only require a little bit at a time. You can purchase and look up how to burn white sage or palo santo. Sage and palo santo are used to smudge (clear energies and toxins) so you would burn the tips and let their smoke fill the air for 30 seconds to 2 minutes (depending on how much you have). Incense will surely burn longer but not as long as a candle.
-Meditate and/or Pray
Meditation is essentially the practice of focused breathing, typically done in silence. In meditation, you become mindful of your thoughts, and as you deepen your meditative practice, you develop the strength to quiet your thoughts. Because we are so overstimulated, the thought of meditating can seem challenging, and initially it is. Fortunately there are tons of apps and wellness channels on YouTube, that support meditation, no matter how fresh or seasoned you are.
The goal is all about stillness and awareness.
The same goes for praying. Praying is a time where people talk to their respected higher power and that power responds back and guides that individual on their life journey. Prayer time, allows you to shut the outside world down, and focus on your intention in that moment.
-Practice Sound Healing
Listen to binaural beats, meditative music, music that stimulates your chakras.
Every object and every person is composed of energy. As the great Sir Isaac Newton theorized thru the law of conservation of energy, energy can be neither created nor destroyed, but it can be converted from one form to another and it can be transferred from one object to another. This means that you, during times of stress emanate certain energy. Therefore, one energy based tool you can utilize is sound healing. All that "sounds" are is energy captured in frequency form. Of course there's a science to it, but for the sake of this conversation, just know that there are specific sounds that you can listen to that scientifically enhance your mood or relax you.
You can simply use YouTube or your favorite music app to search for binaural beats, meditative music, sound healing songs, chanting, or chakra balancing hymns.
An essential oil dropper or roll-on, a tincture, or a tea
As herbs come from the ground, we humans have mastered various ways to ingest them. Either on your skin or thru your blood stream, utilizing the power of herbs works. Some herbs can be used for cooking as well as aromatherapy. Others can be used for tea. When herbs are doused in rubbing alcohol, they become what we call tinctures, and can be placed in water or tea. No matter if the herbs are in a form of an oil that can be burned, rolled on you, in a tea bag, or in a tincture, utilizing the different forms are great for your well being. You can locate herbs in various forms at your local farmers market, health food store, alternative healing store/clinic, or online.
Look out for the following
- Lavender -Licorice root
- Chamomile - Holy Basil
- Eucalyptus - Ashwagandha root
- Kava - Eleuthero root
- Vanilla - Rhodiola root
- Cinnamon - Bergamot
- Lilac - Jasmine
Your breathe is the most centering tool for self care that you have. Taking intentional moments to practice 6 second inhalations and exhalations can center your body, improve your oxygen flow, and stabilize your fight or flight system. Focus on inhaling thru your nose and exhaling thru your mouth or breathing in and out of your nose.
When it comes to self care, there are endless tools you can use, however these are tools I have utilized in the last couple of years that have helped me.
Of course other steps you can take include quality rest, having a diet full of live foods, physical activity, practicing boundaries, being in nature, and taking quiet time.
In BE Love: Daily Intentions Guiding You to Self Love, I provide you with 35 activities and steps to practice self care and support you on your journey of self love.
What self care tools do you utilize?
Me in Botswana. April 2017.
Many people don't know themselves, are uncomfortable with themselves, and experience voids within their lives because they can't stand to be alone.
This is why some are constantly in need of being in social settings, being the center of attention, being in romantic relationships, or glued to their tv/laptop/tablet or phone.
We live in a time where not only are the art of relationshipping and building intimacy with others are issues, but experiencing intimacy with ourselves is even a greater issue.
There are so many distractions that people have that keep them from having time with and by themselves. The cure? Creating solo experiences
Solo experiences can be doing anything by yourself:
I started employing solo experiences for myself around 20, when I was in college. As I was regularly in therapy at the time, myself and my therapist, found it beneficial for me to start deplugging and really getting to know myself, by doing things alone. Over the years I just got so comfortable, that now I just feel like I LOVE being by myself. My favorite past time has become travelling solo.
Me on the train in Amsterdam. April 2017
Solo experiences are key to me re-grounding myself, and I have been in need of a major overhaul. Part of the reason there haven't been frequent post was due to blockages I was having around creativity and expression. I somewhat lost touch with myself because of my anxiety, depression and grief. I went on an amazing 3.5 week trip through Southern Africa, and it was astounding. I will surely do some posts on my travels, but I want to just share why travelling solo for me, helped me grow deeper in love with myself.
Me in Maboneng, Johannesburg, South Africa. March 2017.
Me in Granada, Spain
Being alone, I had to trust myself, my judgement and discernment. Travelling solo as a woman, is still a foreign concept to some people, so I had make sure I was open enough to my experiences, but o guard about where I went, and who I interacted with.
I got to see myself through others eyes, and re-realized, wow I'm pretty dope. Sometimes its affirmations from others that leave us to recognize the light within ourselves. For me personally, I rarely acknowledge or give myself credit because I feel like I'm just living my life the best way I know how, but I recognize, just as encourage my readers, we must honor ourselves on a daily basis.
Being alone, always allows one to observe their inner thoughts, and what are thoughts tend to be, is a major indication of whats going on in our lives, or how our lives will be in the future. For me, my greatest moments of growth come when I am alone, with nothing to distract me.
With no alternative voices or stimuli, I can find it much easier to stay present because I am not obliged to give my attention to a person or thing (aka phone).
I believe you get to challenge your own self concept, and step beyond who you are or were, and decided in that experience, who do you want to be. Because an introverted person, on solo experiences, can find that when they want to, they surely can break out of their shell. Or a person that is always afraid of danger, can learn that in their boldness, the world may not be a scary as a place that they've previously thought it to be.
On my recent travel in South Africa, after disclosing my solo journey, many would say, you are so bold! When, in actuality, I don't think so.
I just leave you with this question, what are we afraid of in the world or within ourselves, to prevent us for spending long durations of time alone?
If you and I chatted for the first time, and I blatantly said, may I join your sisterhood, tribe, group of friends, etc., what would you say? How would you feel? If you considered answering yes, what would be the criteria that I would have to fulfill?
Do you honestly feel like you have a strong sisterhood with at least 2-3 women?
Yes, you are the givers of life, and in so many ways, you handle a lot more life and baggage than most men, but having others to check in with, who authentically care about you or who offer to support you and lighten your load is so important.
Outside of settings like school and possibly work, it is difficult for many adults to develop new friendships, and even when you do, you may have an overly romantic or underwhelming idea of what that looks like.
Yet the reality is, life can be challenging at times. Stress is a real thing, and its not always self care activities like yoga, fitness, writing, fitness, etc. that can bring our stress levels down. Sometimes we need human contact, affection and support to get us thru tough times or even a tough day.
According to the Office of Women's Health, the following are signs of stress:
Some of these can also be signs of greater mental health issues like depression or anxiety.
One of the ways to help manage your stress is having and leaning on a supportive network of family and friends that you can talk to. But dare I say, its not just any type of friends. We all have different types of friends, that may serve different purposes. They may be in our lives now because they entered during very different seasons in our lives, whether as children, adolescents, young adults, or in the present. Nonetheless, for the sake of this post, I want you to think about the kind of friends, or sisters, to include in your sisterhood.
A sisterhood would be comprised of a group of women, that would fulfill the criteria above. Every single one not, but collectively they are whole tribe of support. The truth is, no one person can be everything; not even you. This is why its important to have parts of a whole. The women in your sisterhood don't even all have to know or be friends with each other, but if you had to have sleepover/please come pour into me session-my life is in shambles- would you have a group of women you could depend on?
Remember, stress has effects on your health, so its never something you just want to keep inside. Not only would you have your self love tool kit, but you would human outlets that can help you deplug, process, and restart. The power of a sisterhood is that it creates a safe space for you as a woman. We bear a lot of burdens, have so many insecurities, doubt ourselves, compare ourselves, and often have feelings of lack. All the while, we carry on with idea that we can hold weight on our backs, and just continue doing laugh as if the weight is not affecting us.
With a sisterhood, you are reminded you are not alone and don't need to feel like you have to go thru life alone. You are also reminded that someone else, has or is going thru your same or similar stresses. There is simply power in connection.
If a sisterhood is not something you have, lets be grateful that you're in the age of technology bringing people together. Join Facebook groups with interests you have. Look for meetups where you are. Join local women focused membership based organizations. Step out your comfort zone, be vulnerable, and go on sister dates to build relationships!
To have support is honoring thy spirit; the 4th commandment of self love, so be open.
It has been a full 2 months since I last posted anything, and let me assure there has been ALOT that has transgressed. I've had time to really reflect on BE! where it is, where its going, and my personal journey of self love and how to live a bold, unapologetic life.
I have been going thru an intense period of growth...not physically of course, but emotionally, mentally and spiritually. In order to allow myself to just BE and experience the growth without the pressure of sharing everything with the world, I have wrote and recorded videos in the privacy of my own process, and have finally felt in my spirit that its' time to share some of the reflections and lessons I've stepped into and embraced.
So I want to chat with you today about "Intense Growth."
When I refer to intense growth I am referring to the intentional and anticipated journey one embarks on for any period of time for the purpose of transformation. When we live for any period of time in monotony and finally get tired of it, or when we get to a point where we are ready for a change in our life, typically we are requesting the universe to put us in circumstances for intense growth.
When one realizes that they are impatient, insensitive, lazy, unfit, in-motivated, impersonal, close-minded, or just stuck in any area of life, they will often say to a confidant or themselves, " I need to change." Some people even pray...please help me change. Well, what you seek is seeking you...and typically when it finds you, it will shake up your world.
When we ask for parts of us to change or improve, it is inevitable that circumstances will present themselves to challenge and mold us into the very state our hearts are desiring to be in.
What are some signs that you are going through an Intense Period of Growth?
Us women (in general) seem to be really keen on highlighting what we are unhappy with about ourselves and our lives. We love the drama that we create within ourselves that allows us to worship another woman's body, life, career, charisma, family or relationship.
In a world driven by digital snapshots and millions of videos daily, we (myself included) can get so caught up in the fantasy that perfection exists in someone's life, way beyond our own reach. The reality? It's BS!
There is actually perfection is imperfection. Imperfection is the constant state (when compared to our fantasies) that we all are constantly in. Let's get comfortable with the word imperfection. Rationally, its the adjective that makes the most sense when we try to compare ourselves to or strive towards something that doesn't exist. The fantasy of perfection is merely a fantasy. If we compare ourselves to our fantasies, then we might as well accept that we are imperfect.
You are perfect the way you are because perfection is an ideal. Perfection is a construct. You are human. You are the epitome of imperfection. In all your imperfection, I hope that you see your beauty, resilience and potential.
You're not small enough, thick, tall, short, dark, light, smart, expressive, creative, gentle, or enterprising enough. You're striving to be who your idol is. Striving to be whoever your "#goals" SEEM to be.
We must truly learn to embrace who we are and the paths we have walked. Every path is unique, and everyone carries the weight of their lives different.Do not rely on merely what you see, because as the saying goes, even salt looks like sugar from afar.
When you can learn to get up EVERYDAY and embrace who you are, you release the pressure of that you've put on yourself through these fantasies in your head.
There is so much freedom in juts loving you, and being content with who you are until you become someone more dynamic.
You smile, cry, laugh, get scared, and have insecure moments. There's lessons you've learned and times in which you feel like you made a mistake. It's ok.
You can be confident, confused, and insecure at the same time. You can be helpful and inspiring to others, and have no clue what to do about your own relationships at times.
Who said you can shine light while you are in darkness? Who says, that you can't be a teacher, while you are learning? Who says you can't lead, while you are learning how to follow?
Life is not black and white. People are not black & white. No matter how much we want to put ourselves or others in about, people do not fit in boxes. One of my own personal mantras which is now a shirt reads " Enough. Now. Always. Forever." It's so crucial for us to walk in the freedom of knowing there is beauty in our imperfection. It is so crucial for us to embrace that we can be walking contradictions on a journey of continuous transformation.
Happy Friday Beautiful BEings!
I woke up with so much gratitude, but realized, on the morning of the inauguration of the 45th President of the United Sates, many were in distress and dis-harmony. So I decided to do what I do best, provide some self care tip to use today and beyond!
1. Limit/Time-block/Minimize time spent on social media
People often fail to realize that images and videos they come across on social media platforms are triggering and will contribute to a distressed state. Just because you have an app downloaded on your device, doesn't mean you HAVE to look at it. You also don't have to check social media several times an hour or a day. Learn to say no.
2. Say NO with your voice or silence.
Do not feel obligated to engage in conversation you know will trigger you to become irritated, angry, distressed, etc. If any conversation you are in or around goes left, feel free to ask if the topic could be changed, don't make a comment, or simply walk away if possible. Also, feel free to SAY NO if offered to be in certain environments or around people who trigger you.
3. Find or create a space of solace.
When you realize that your internal state feels anything but peaceful, make an effort to create the space you need to bring any anxiety or stress down. The easiest way to do this is to incorporate an intentional breathing practice. Taking 6 second inhalations followed by 6 second exhalations as least 3 times, while closing your eyes. You can also find a quiet place to just go and sit, and try to just listen to your thoughts.
4. Surround yourself with positive words and imagery
Stimuli in the form of words and images shape your mood and perspectives on life. Your brain registers images as a piece of your life's narrative. Taking time to have positive, hopeful, faith filled, motivational and encouraging words around you and in your visual field is such an impact self care practice. Whether you create a list of quotes or affirmations to keep on a "notes" app on your phone, you bookmark inspirational pages on your web browser, or you have little notes around your room, office, car, etc... have powerful words at your disposal.
5. Tap into your creative side
Dance, write, draw, color, paint, sing, knit, sew and create in whatever fashion you decide to. Do it often, not just when you feel stressed, but maybe at least 3-4 times a week. Engaging in a creative outlet literally sends happy signals to your brain.
6. Create an awesome music playlist
Music is oh so healing. Create playlist that boost your moods. Think of the songs that make you feel really good, that make you smile, that make you think of good times , and just put you in a really good place. Music carries energy, and if its music you feel that has powerful and positive energy, then thats' what you want to infuse in your life.
7. Be around people that make you smile and uplift your spirit
Being selective about the energy you surround your self with is important when you feel vulnerable to negativity. You want to choose people that make you laugh, make you feel good, support you, encourage you, or help you relax during otherwise stressful times. We our not built to go thru life alone, and it is knowing the power of community and connection that we can often find our strength.
What does is mean to live in resistance versus surrender?
This is a lingering question that I had for myself by the end of last year. Realizing how much of my life I try to "plan" and then experiencing it another way, really compelled me to reconsider how I operate. My anxiety was at an all time, and it manifested in my body. Once that happened, I knew I had to get a handle on what was going on within me.
With the help of my amazing life coach, I came to the decision that my theme for my life (at least this year) would be "Ease and Grace." For the last 3 years, I choose a yearly theme based off lessons from the previous year. 2016 was "Be Still & Go" because in the previous year, I found myself overthinking, and becoming paralyzed in making decisions. So because I experienced a lot of transition last year, as well as heightened anxiety, and paralyzing depression, I decided this year I would move with "Ease & Grace". I will allow life to happen and tap into what feels "right." I will make sure that I practice all of the 5 Commandments of Self Love, but pay attention to Honor Thy Spirit.
See resistance, doesn't work for me. May be for some people, but not me. When I live, I do my best when I'm in a flow. If I don't have the answer to something, trying to think about or obsess over the details all at once, doesn't work for me anymore. I get to choose to take my time, pray for signs, be in silence and listen to my spirit, and decide, it will work itself out in due time.
I recently finished reading Jen Sincero's , " You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living An Awesome Life," and it totally reminded me of the importance of staying connected to ease and grace.
The above excerpt from her book, is the perfect summation of what it means to live in resistance versus surrender.One thing I know for sure, is when I speak of self love, thru my blogs or in events, the act of full acceptance is all about surrendering.
Surrendering is not about "giving up" in life per se, but there is an experience of throwing your arms up and saying, what will be, will be, and what is, is.
You cannot change the past. You cannot change people's minds. You cannot change people's hearts. You cannot even save all of the Earth. You can assess, what power you do have in your own life, and consider the agency and platforms that exist for you to make an impact.
There is something you don't like, well take an assessment of how much energy you spend in not liking it. How often do you talk the subject at hand? Is it your body? a person? your job? your family? your home? something about your lifestyle? Consider the more you harp about it and complain, you are choosing resistance.
When you identify something or someone that is displeasing, its about asking why, removing judgement from your spirit, and focusing your energy on changing it from a place of love and positivity. If you want to lose weight, surrendering to the process of enjoying healthy meals and creative ways to get in physical activity is very different from being in an obsessive state of cutting your self off to all kinds of food because you need to lose weight, judging your self everyday because you need to lose weight, comparing your body to another because you need to lose weight, or believing you can't experience life a certain way because you need to lose weight.
Ease, grace and surrender recognizes the experience of time, process, and transformation. Surrender is patient and resistance is impatient and impulsive.
I say all this to you because its tough becoming who want to be or obtaining what you want in life when you're consistently living in resistance. Its the difference of downstream versus upstream.
Learn to flow. There is a lot in this world, this country, in media, in our communities, and in our minds, that could prevent flow. Anxiety and stress is way too common now, and its because of resistance.
May you choose to flow, surrender and live with ease and grace. May you remember to Honor your Spirit because your spirit ALWAYS knows.
I have been seeing a lot of posts about how people are copletely over 2016 and so ready for 2017. Even though I share some of those sentiments, I must celebrate great things that happened in my life in 2016.
Even though 2016 has been an emotionally exhausting and draining year for me, its been my most adventurous in a long time. I really wanted to do a 2016 re-cap, for you and for myself. As I was experiencing the best of life, I often times let the worst parts of it overshadow all the goodness that was going on. I truly had some amazing experiences, and with me being in an extended depressive episode nearly the whole year, it was often challenging to just be present. As soon as my magical expeirences ended, I went right back to sulking.
Here's some poitive highlights of my year:
- Attended 7 concerts
- 2 music festvals
- 4 broadway shows
-4 US States
- Big Sur
- Universal Studios
- Attended first MLS game
- Delivered a workshop for a bereavement event
- 29th Birthday
- hosted 2 empowerment brunches
- offcially registered BE as a business entity
- launched the BE UNLMTD apparel and accessories brand
How about major lessons?
- Baby steps is better than taking no steps at all
- If stress is a big part of your life, it will eventually show up in your body, so make to have tools and practices in place to take care of your self
- Asking for support and help will take so much of life's burden off your shoulders
- When you look back, you juts might fine more light than darkness
- Its ok not to settle, you will thank your self
- Its ok to not follow a plan or let life happen
- Nothing last forever, rain nor sun
The truth is, its not always easy to see the silver lining, and some times, you don't even want to consider that there is a silver lining. For the sake of growth, peace and future opportunities, choosing to look at the silver lining in life, is so beneficial.
You get to practive teh first commandment of love, Honor Thyself in a totally uniqie way. Yearly reviews and reflections teach us so much about time, change, and transformation. We get to choose to look at the big picture as well as the small details along the way. I know so many people that are "over" 2016, but in reality, if they take a month by month assessment of what has happened in tehir lives, I wonder would that judgement change.
Consider the pivotal conversations. Consider the connections. Consider the releases. Consider the aha moments. Consider the new goals. Conisder your overall perserverance.
We are often more resilient than we believe our selves to be; and we are often more prone to look at and romanticize our struggles as oopposed to our victories. Joy is a victory. Peace is a victory. The ability to commit to something is a victory.
Everyday is a new opportunity to commit to and create something and instead of lookiing at 2017 as one step, I will remember that it is the little steps along the way, that will make a greater difference in the end,
Check out my photos from some of highlights
There are 2 times of the year when I am mst reflective; September (my birthday month) and December (the pre-amble to the new year).
While most folks are planning vacations, travelling, attending events, and celebrating the holidays, I recently thought about how much time I spend in an intentional reflective process going through my year, during the month of December.
To me, reflection is so important if you want to consider how you can become a better version of yourself, as well as acknoweldging how you did live a life of satisfaction.
I utilize my journals, photo gallery, and current vision board to assess what my year has been like. Merely going thru my journals, and re-reading my expressions is a great time machine for me. As a person who takes a lot pictures of my day to day, going back thru my photos allows me to reconnect with emotions and experiences that come along with each still shot. Lastly, every year, I create a visualization tool to set goals for the year. Its not meant to add pressure, but to keep my mind and intentions set on moving towards something. Eveything doesn't always get "checked off" so to speak, but its great to look at what did, whats in the pipeline, and whether anything remaining, would be important enough to shoot for the next year.
Below are examples of areas I make sure to reflect on each December:
-I take note of any positive experiences such as events attended, goals checked off, fears overcome, and strides made.
- I reflect on times of trial that were the catalyst of any type of compromise to my wellness and self love practice.
-I take note of goals written down that I didn't necessarily complete and assess the reasoning.
- I examine my major realtionships, taking note of which got stronger, weaker and which ones I may need to naturally let go of; as well as the reasoing behind each category.
- I take note of accomplishments that are aligned with my 5 Commandments of Self Love: honor Thyself, honor thy mind, honor thy body, honor thy spirit and forgiveness.
- I take note of new or re-confirmed insights about my character, motivations and limiting thinking
When it comes to "how I reflect", my main tool I use is a journal. I try to capture my emotions and thoughts as often as possible via written word. Its cathartic, and lays out everything plain for you to re-read. I also make sure to keep my journals, so that at any time of reflection, I can go back.
I know some people believe that "bringing up" or thinking about your past, gets in the way of you living in the future but I disagree. The field of History exists for a reason. To learn about a person, place or things, it i rather important to take note of its history. Its the same for ourselves and our lives. Reflection is a tool for growth and transformation.
There is a difference of using reflection as a tool of growth as opposed to an excuse to ruminate in an old narrative, The past matters. We are a collection of our experiences. We are shaped, not defined, by our experiences. Reflect to determine what you need to walk away with vs. what you need to walk away from. Refoect to assess how you've grown and how you've stumbled. Reflect to take gratitude with you into one more day.