Mother: An Ode to the Nature

She has always been here radiating the love she has been so often denied.

A force of light, a source of pride

Overcoming fear

Her womb overflows with the sea of immortality

Always giving more than she is given

Tainted by circumstance

Even her diminished self finds reason to praise and be praised

She is the essence of mid-day

Encompassing all each day has to offer

Lights and sounds

She is mother to us all

From the days we part ways to the ending in which we return to her.

 

Creating a Yoga Flow: Recap Thru Week Nine

I am approaching week nine of my personal yoga flow journey. It turns out keeping up with posting is just as much of a challenge as keeping up with a daily flow practice. I also accidentally skipped an important transitional pose in Part Three of this series. So let’s recap.

Part One

I began with downward dog, child’s pose, and frog pose. These asanas get the blood flowing and awaken joints. It’s preparatory for more complicated asanas.

Part Two

From frog pose, I roll back onto my feet and sink into garland pose or malasana. This a grounding pose and that not only opens the hips but, with hand clasped at the chest, opens the heart for the practice.

Part Three

Next, I place my hands on the floor and push myself onto my feet for a forward fold. Sometimes my feet are close together or hip distance. These details are always important as your practice should reflect what feels right for you. The should have been the focus of my week three post.

Part Four

Once on my feet, I bend my knees into my armpits – or as close as possible – tighten my abs and firmly plant my hands into the mat/floor with spread fingers before me and lift my curled body into crow pose or bakasana. This pose is a test of balance, concentration and upper body strength.

Part Five

Next, I lower one leg to the ground and flexing the other hip and extending the leg straight back. Whichever side my foot is landed, I plant my fingers into the floor and twist my body and extended leg the opposite direction while the other fingertips reaches toward the ceiling . This is half moon or ardha chandrasana. Like most balance asanas, it tests focus. It also increases hip strength.

Part Six

I then lower the extend leg and arm to the floor, extend the planted leg back into the air behind me and push myself back into three-legged downward dog or eka pada adho mukha svanasana.

Part Seven

The foot of the extended leg then falls to the floor behind the body and takes on the support as the other leg straights and the arm on the side of the supporting leg raises overhead. This pose is called wild thing or camatkarana. This also engages the side body and helps with upper body flexibility. It is also helpful in reminding the Self how to let go and open up.

Part Eight

Continue to let the body fall back and plant both hands and feet onto the flow in wheel pose. This pose requires some back flexibility and upper body strength. It also requires trust in yourself for without it, strength is beside the point. Remember to breath!

Eight Nine

Lift on leg straight into the air as far as you can. Do not force this movement. Go slow. With repetition, the thigh and low ab muscles will strengthen as will your confidence.

Remember that your practice is your own and this will more than likely not play out the exact same way each time. Go with your gut and find your flow.

Happy flowing! Namaste.

Brown Skin, Conscious Mind

I believe we are all a part of one collective consciousness; a Source spirit from which we all derive. Our human circumstances play out in a way that addresses something we need to learn and overcome to further ascend. Without a human experience, we do not know suffering and therefore cannot grow as spiritual beings. On my path towards ascension, I began to realize just how unimportant race is in the overall grand scheme.

We are essentially all the same. Not even in traditional church is there talk of a colored section in heaven nor hell. This revelation was quite liberating when I first came to it, then I began to struggle again with a lingering thought. As a person of color, how can I live in this truth while also standing in the truth of my human heritage?

Even in my awareness of race being only an illusion developed by human ego, it often pulls at me like a tether that will not allow me to reach the next step towards ascension. It is not so simple to push aside when faced with the everyday obstacles and debates around racial prejudice.  However, I also realize how it has strengthened me and connected to me a rich culture of beings that excel in perseverance. So what can one do with all of this?

As for me, I live each day at a time. I follow my heart and I learn what there is to know. I  act wisely and protect my energy from unnecessary and destructive banter as best I can. I meditate on my the Inner Most and remind myself that I am an amazing being. I just consider my blackness as a boss level in this life game that I am certain I will conquer.

No Greater

I never have too much to say until I reach you.

You allow my out-pour without demand or condition.

You soak in my past lives and my present. You are my gift.

You hear me with your soul, not your earthly perceptions.

My soul reached out and you embraced it without question.

You fueled me, you calmed me. You put me first.

You gave me a chance to be selfish without judgement.

I cringe at the memories in which I forgot you but you forgave me and let me find myself.

You forgave me and let me fly.

I’ve never known a greater love.

If You Can’t Love Yo’ Self …

Once upon a time, I was a victim of the sad and lonely. I didn’t have a line of prospective baes lined around the block for me and Valentine’s Day bummed me out big time. Even the romanticย semi-relationships I had between grade school and college were no cause for envy. Somehow, V-Day does not hold the same power over me that it once did. How’d that happen?

One could argue that it’s because I’m currently happily engaged. However, the truth is that it has nothing to do with it. My guy does not go all out for Valentine’s Day and I’ve heard many a story of couples breaking up over a lack “WOW” put into its preparation. Of course, he and I are all for celebrating our love. We just don’t need a designated day to do it. We make our feelings known to each other daily – the good and the bad.

So where was the transition for me?

It came when I decided to love myself unconditionally. Sounds corny right? Well, in the words of Robert Downey, Jr. in Tropic Thunder, “Doesn’t make it not true.” I’ve learned not to allow my relationship status to dictate my happiness. I enjoy my alone time and appreciate my personal space. I also appreciate those who enhance my space by adding light and love to it. That is the type of love I care most about.

The love that matters to me is not commercialized or on sale. It does not come at its best one day a year. It’s around me constantly because I bring it to me from within.

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I will not lie and say that if my guy left me tomorrow I would not be sad. Surely, I’d miss him quite a bit. However, my desire for companionship would no longer wane my feelings about myself. I would simply chuck it up to him having given me all he could. In fact, I give him credit for helping me discover this intense love for myself.

Believe it or not, everyone around you encourages you to love yourself be it in the best or worst of ways. Maybe a foul attitude reminds you of what it means to be patient with yourself and others. Maybe a random act of kindness inspires you to get out of your comfort zone. Whatever it is, pay attention to the signs!

When I developed a higher level of loving-kindness for my Self, I started caring less about superficial expressions. I realized my lonely days were teaching me to be content with being alone which, in turn, taught me how to be better in the company of others. Joys in life became less about the effort someone put into making a holiday special or, in this case, even romantic partnership. It’s more about the love I receive from friends and family. When they fall short, it’s about the love I can keep showing my Self.

Namaste.

 

 

Black and Spiritual

I grew in the church during a time where there was still a stigma attached to being “spiritual”. My latest church experience confirmed that while the energy around that has shifted a bit, it is still a lingering negativity associated around it.

One of the most difficult things I’ve experienced was coming into my spirituality as a black person with a traditionally religious background.

Like many black families, mine are primarily Christian with Baptist ties. They hold the teachings of the church very closely to them and once upon a time so did I. I went through several stages of emotion towards Christianity as I learned more about the past of blacks and how faith and religion correlates.

Now, It’s not that I have completely cast Christianity aside. My understanding of the teachings have simply changed. Although dated or culturally specific in many aspects, I think the Bible holds much validity and relevance. For instance, to me, the Bible makes it clear that one can be both spiritual and religious. In fact, I give credit to my Christian upbringing for being the foundation for my spirituality today. However, it is no longer my end all be all.

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Instead, I choose to study various faiths and philosophies and apply them to my life as I feel most called. Unfortunately, this has put me in a position to be called a number of things from doomed to questionable by those who practice their religion in a more traditional fashion.

I used to become defensive about this but, thankfully, my spirituality has lead me to understand that we all have our choices and are on different paths. Anyone’s conclusion of me is based on their own perception, one that is founded on their experience of not just me but their own life. I’ve learned to let people be where they are and to carry on in a way that makes me happy with myself by any means.

I realize those who are intense when it comes to their faith are in a different internal space than I am and I appreciate their passion. Still, in no way does it diminish what I feel to be best for me.

At the end of the day, I am black. I am spiritual. It is what it is.

Namaste.

Epiphany

You are, You are, You are Me,

I am the sky, the land, the fish in the sea.

I am my companion, my lover

I am Him, He is Me.

I am salt, I am light, I am space

just as the tears rolling down my face.

How real I feel now that I see

all at once what it is to be Me.