Monday, October 1, 2012

Wise Words

Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice. I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are still steeped in hurt and resentment. It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint. I can choose to grateful when I am criticized, even when my heart still responds in bitterness. I can choose to speak about goodness and beauty, even when my inner eye still looks for someone to accuse or something to call ugly.

~Henri J. M. Nouwen

Friday, May 25, 2012

Sleep and Water

I was talking to Deus the other night and telling him he needed more sleep and more water.  He has the more food thing down pat. But it’s funny to me that life is really so simple. And we complicate it up with so many unnecessary things.  I mean to live in this world the list of things one needs physically is very short and while it seems like a lot more, the list of what we need to survive emotionally is even shorter. In fact it’s not a list…it’s just one thing…love

I’m a huge fan of Bethenny Frankel. I like her because she is real and honest and candid and hard. I like her because I’m a woman that some women consider hard. I mean I love all things woman but I will never be called coy or demure. Face it I was a tall girl raised by a man who didn’t have a son in his life for 18 years.   Anyway… not only do I love Bethenny but I also love her husband and above all I love their marriage, or at least how it’s presented to me on the show.

The thing that I love about their relationship is that they really love each other. Like… they love each other enough to not give up on their family.  And because they love each other they are willing to work at it. Like they know they want to be together and because that they are dedicated to working.  Sometimes they don’t like each other, sometimes they get annoyed with one another, but they always always love each other no matter what. I think that’s what love is.

Think about family or your good friends, the ones that you love, you put up with their flaws. You work with them you compromise to make the other happy.  And they do the same for you. And really that’s all one needs to survive… and unconditional love is even better. 
We complicate so much of life with things that aren’t necessary for happiness when it’s really so simple. Being loved and loved unconditionally grounds so much of you.  It allows you to feel secure, it allows you voice not so pleasant things with no fear of abandonment,  it allows you to take risk, and it allows you to look at yourself honestly and become a better person because someone loves you and thinks you can do it. I mean love… especially unconditional love heals so many things…kinda like sleep and water.

Be EZ,

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Bikram, Foot Stools, and Life

I ushered in my thirty-ninth birthday with one of my best friends in life and her family. It was, what some would consider, an underwhelming birthday. Me, the cutest two and five year old brother and sister on this earth,  and their parents over peperoni pizza and a lit red velvet cupcake with the sweet voices of children singing happy birthday.  The atmosphere filled with the excitement about the breathe that would cease the flame and simultaneously end one year out, while ushering in the new possibilities of the next.  I spent the first days of 39 in Seattle with perfect weather and with a perfect travel companion and then returned home back to the daily grind that is my life.

Something I have found so unique about The Creator is that when it is time for me to move He always makes sure I get it. When I returned back to Bikram I walked into a class taught by Naomi. Naomi is my least favorite instructor. Not because her thick Asian accent peppered with New York that makes it hard to understand her as she barks the positions for me to twist in, but because her uncanny  ability to assume things about me completely wrong.  She likes to push students to do better, but often she doesn’t pay attention to the person to understand how to push them without offense. I guess it’s where the New York and Texas collide.  Anyway, running late into a packed class Naomi moved me from the comfortable place in the back row and put me on the second row.

 Sigh… if I am anything, I am a creature of habit when it comes to my M-F life.  Every weekday I wake up around 4:00 go to the bathroom and fall asleep to around 7:30 wake up lay and meditate and then turn on the TV as I shower and get ready to get to work between 9:00 and 10:00.  On Monday and Wednesday I come home unwind and head to my Bikram yoga class at 8:30PM and set up my mat, towel and water on the back row and go thru 26 positions in a hundred plus degreed room with accompanying humidity.

However on this Wednesday after a wonderful vacation ushering in thirty-nine, I was pushed to the second row and if that wasn’t bad enough, I was pushed to the second row right under the vent that brings in all that hot humid air into the yoga room.  With no time to find an alternative to this move, I just set up camp and started my pranayama breathing and before I knew it I was done with my practice.  Sure it was not comfortable to be on the second row with extra heat, but I did it.  I didn’t want to but, like many times in my life, I was pushed out of my comfort zone because I had no option.  I had been pushed to move by something/someone I didn’t like.  And I had succeeded.

When I returned back to class on Thursday the odd set up of the classroom made Cindy, one of my favorite instructors, move me to the second row.  I laughed and moved and accepted my challenge from the universe again and moved out of my comfort zone from the back room and practiced on the second row again and IT WAS GOOD.

That Saturday I went to a Women’s Breakfast at church with my mother and the evangelist talked about moving out of your comfort zone to experience the manifold blessing that God has for you. She talked about people who felt overwhelmed by life and its pitfalls. She mentioned God making your enemies your step stool. And said that the reason that God makes your enemy your  foot stool is because you need a means to get to the next level that he is moving you to… you can’t reach the next level without stepping out of your comfort zone.  And what better way to reach something out of your comfort zone, a foot stool.

Lord Jehovah said to my Lord, "Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies as a stool for your feet." Psalms 110:1 Aramaic Bible in Plain English

 That stuck with me. Later that night, when I was talking to Deus I told him that I felt that God was speaking to me. Yes, I believe that God speaks to me. Not in a burning bush Moses kind of way, but through patterns in life.  I notice patterns in things.  It’s the reason I learn quickly and it’s the reason I’m successful at what I do. It also is sometimes the reason I read too much into things also.  That’s the things about patterns sometimes it’s the universe trying to move you and sometimes it’s just bullshit.  Learning to tell the difference is what life is for.

 I returned back to my practice on Monday to a packed class and there was only one spot… the front row.  In my mind the front row of the hot room is reserved for those who have been practicing Bikram for way longer than my measly 10 month practice, but that was the only place to go. So I set up my mat and prepared for yoga on the front row, the most uncomfortable place in the yoga room for me.  My practice in the front row was awesome it was not as hard as I imagined it to be and when I finished it I felt so accomplished in addition to my normal post-Bikram high.

I thought about Psalms 110… and used my yoga story as my allegory. “Sit at my right hand”, me in the back of class. I was receiving benefits sitting in the back, at the right hand of Jehovah. I was learning, I was watching and I was getting stronger. “Until I put your enemies as a stool for your feet”   Naomi, my least favorite instructor pushed me to the second row under a vent of hot humid air. And I finished and it was a good practice.  It gave me confidence to do it again. When Cindy moved me there was an out in the back of the room, but I didn’t opt for it. I took the second row position because I knew I could do it and completing another class on the second row made me confident and it prepared me for one of my most awesome practices on the front row.

Then I thought about my new year of 39. For the past few years I’ve been on the back row of my bikram class of life. I have been comfortable. I have been growing and learning and sitting on the right hand of my God.  Recently I had been viewing my job as my enemy. It wasn’t hard but the comfort of it had been making me uneasy and I had been feeling the day in and day out with no real recognition or challenges had me wanting to leave.

Then I had my aha moment. My job was my foot stool. It is a job that is easy and comfortable enough to allow me to continue to work and maintain my professional credentials while attending school to receive my MBA.  Going to school, my practicing on the second row, it is what I need to be doing. It wouldn’t be easy but it would prepare me and make me ready for my new life, my next level.   And my life post MBA, my first row practice, will be very similar.

There will be a spot for me only on the first row and while it will be scary, I will think about how scared I was to move to the second row and how rewarding it was, and I will go.  I will take the opportunity and try and I will be a better and more enriched person for it.  But I can’t get to that place without moving out of my comfort zone and using the things I see as my enemy as stools to move me towards my goal.  Sometimes road blocks are not blocks at all but stairs to the next level.  So for the next few years its second row living. I’m going to take the push and reach the top.

Since that revelation, I have now taken residence on the second row in the hot room, but trust I will not let my comfort on the second row turn into complacency.  It is merely just my stepping stone to the front row practice and the next level in my life.  I think my forties are gonna be something really fabulous… way more fabulous than I could ever even imagine, just like my front row yoga practice.

Be EZ,

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Beginnings, Endings, and Closure

Last weekend, for my birthday, I spent an awesome time with my new guy.  He met me in Seattle and we spent such an awesome time together.   He really has been great to me and he has helped my picture of happiness be brighter.  We’re in love and happy and life is good.

Now fast forward to Friday, my phone rings and it’s the man who I was sure was going to be the one.  (It’s funny, to me, how men seem to have this special radar that lets them know you’re over them or have moved on.) Anyway I picked up the phone and said hi, and listened to his current news about him getting his life together and how he knew I would want to know because it’s what I said he needed to do.  Followed by a can I see you.   I don’t know but I guess I’m different or blessed because most of my relationships have been with men who were my friends and even after it was over we have managed to stay in touch be cordial and be happy for each other as we have moved on in our own directions.  Save for one, if any of my exes call me I have been happy to hear from them and to hear about how well their lives have been going without me. I mean after all isn’t that what love is really about, wanting the person you love to be happy, with or without you.  So with that being said, I agreed to meet him after work to catch up on things.

He asked how my new thing was going I told him and as I sat there laughing & talking with him I thought to myself about how I use to love this man and I was convinced he was my future. I was convinced that I just needed to give him the space he needed to be a man and when he was ready we would be together.  I also thought to myself there’s only so long that a girl can wait for her boy to become a man.  It took years for me to truly cut ties and stop letting him linger in my background.  And now here we are laughing and talking and here he is telling me he can’t believe that I gave up on him and moved on like really moved on with my life.  To be honest there was always room for him in my life, I never seriously dated anyone else and whenever he waltzed in, I always made room for him.  So the surprise is probably warranted.

So being told no and treated as JUST an old friend catching up was hard for him.  He was a little disconcerted, he said but I love you and I said I love you too but I’m happy where I am he makes me happy and I’m in love with him.  And he replied that’s good I’m glad you’re happy of course I want the best for you, but I don’t know I thought you would wait, which confirmed a lot for me and how I feel about men and relationships.  They ALWAYS comeback… ALWAYS

Sometimes you meet the one you’re in love with and it doesn’t work out and sometimes it doesn’t because one party takes your kindness and love for granted, because it was always there no matter what s/he did.  And sometimes it doesn’t work out because your timing is off.   And sometimes it doesn’t work out because one or both of you realize the friend space is the best for you. 

Funny I could never imagine not being a part of the men I was in love with lives, save one.  I mean we don’t talk every day but the occasional check-in to cheer for one another’s life victories that’s what loved ones do.  And when he hugged me & told me he was happy I was happy because he loved me I was glad he understood that part of us was over.  Thank goodness for understanding what love is and what it means.

"Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy;love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all tings, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease;whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away." 

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Be EZ,

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


written 4-17-12  (2 days before the big three nine) 

Well here I am again. It seems this is how we always meet, me starting the post with the obligatory “I’m sorry I don’t post more often” line,  which I will then follow up with “but I’m gonna be better…”  but the truth is right now I don’t have a lot of sharing to do with the whole wide world (or world wide web).  However my birthday is in 2 days and me coming here to mark where I am in my life has become somewhat of a tradition for me.  So lucky for you guys who like to read me ramble, I’m posting today.
I’m fixin ta be thirty-nine and boy is my life completely different than what I thought it was gonna be at 10, 20, 30 ...hell even last year at 37.  That’s the thing I love about life… you just never know.  You make plans you have expectations and life completely disregards most of that, sometimes for the better… sometimes for the worse…  Even when you think it’s the worst it’s probably not and when you whip around in hindsight you will see that the darkest moments were necessary.  The sun shines brightest right after the rain… or something like that.

I don’t know but I am just grateful.  I am surrounded by people who love me and inspire me daily.  I have the things that happiness is built on, love, acceptance, and pretty shoes.  Professionally my career is still moving and I am finally back on track to getting an MBA.

Funny a year ago I was ecstatic for my 38 birthday; I spent it in Vegas with some of my good Judies and my family.  We celebrated 3 birthdays then: mine, my GGs 78th and my Aunt Lilly’s 90 something (she may not want ALL her business out there like that).  I had finally let go of some fairy tales that weren’t going to happen and come to Jesus with those things not being what I was so sure they were.
A year later I’m in a new space in my life.  I am in love under new management.  I’m a total yoga head.  I am now a devoted practitioner of Bikram yoga 3-4 times a week.  I am in a place financially that I am proud of and a few steps closer to some business goals I have for myself.  Professionally things are good and above all else my family and loved ones are safe and secure…I would have to say as I finish up my 30’s, they have been great years for me.

I lived my 20’s for what I thought my life was supposed to be, everything I did I did because I thought it was what happy people did... what adults did... what young black college graduates did.  In my 30s, I not only discovered what made me happy, I stayed committed to maintaining that happiness no matter how it diverged from what society deemed as acceptable.  I wonder what my 40s have in store.  It’s fun to imagine sometimes but it’s more fun to live life and watch how it turns out.

Anyway I’m finna be the big 3-9 and I’m content with who I am and where my life is right now, it’s quite the blessing when I think about it.  I am peaceful and I am loved.

Be EZ,

Friday, January 20, 2012

A New Year a Better Life

Man, the first month of 2012 is half way over and I’m just now getting a chance to blog. Not that I’ve been here regularly or anything. Let’s see… I don’t make resolutions however I do set goals and have growth points I'd like to reach. For me 2012 is about simplifying my life. As of late I have been really conscious of my consumption. I am a consumer….I have come to realize and accept that as long as I have means I will buy pretty things. Pretty things I don’t need….pretty things that make me happy…pretty things that clutter my life.  I want to get back to a simpler time in my life.  I mean I fear that if I don’t I will become one of those monsters consumed with THINGS in life and not PEOPLE.  I don’t ever wanna lose the small town black girl with dreams bigger than her surroundings that is me.  I don’t ever want to become someone who equates things with self-worth or that believes that people with more trappings somehow intrinsically are better than me. I don’t ever want my self-worth to come from anything material.

So for 2012 my goal and my growth point is less…. My goal is to only buy things that are special to me. My goal is to be more thoughtful about what I bring into my house.  To reuse more, to create less waste.  I’ve already started this shift in 2011 however in 2012 I really want to get better and see tangible improvements.  I wanna have less things around me so I appreciate the things that are truly valuable in my life. I want to make room in my life for more people and relationships and less things. And yes by relationships I mean all kinds. It seems I have made room in my life for friendships but I don’t think I really made room for partnerships (also known as romantic relationships). I don’t know I just want to be better as a person and I think who I am in a relationship makes me a well-rounded person. I just want to be free of clutter that may cloud that goal.

Anyway I’m just gonna spend 2012 tackling the last things on my leap list, so to speak. I feel like my life is in a blessed place right now and if I continue to stretch and grow it will only continue to get be better even in its darkest times. That’s all I got.

So do you have a leap list?  You know a list of things you wanted to do before you settled down or had kids or got a certain age?  Feel free to share if you do and why if you don’t. Most of my leap list items have to do with making myself a better person so I can be a better person, friend,sister, daughter,aunt, cousin, granddaughter, niece and partner. Relationships and People.  That’s really what life is about to me.

Be EZ,