The Price of Underestimating

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I'm walking a very different path these days and for this, I am eternally grateful. As I prepare for my 4th surgery (2nd in the last 7 months), I have taken to a lot of observing. You see, there is a lot of misinformation outchea about endometriosis and it is taking every waking moment for me to catch up to research and new findings. I'm part of a few groups that provide invaluable information. So, I do a lot of observing.

There are other groups I belong to, faith driven groups that provide viewpoints and teachings to help expand the knowledge of those that read it.

One such group recently shared a from the Lukumi religion. Patakis are sacred stories of the Orishas passed down through storytelling. As you probably already know, I love stories. And I love digging for meanings in those that I know are meant to show us something or teach us a lesson.

Recently, I read the story of Obatala and his enemies. 

Obatala had a business and had not sold anything because his enemy was selling the same merchandise, stolen from Baba, near him. Baba's son realized what was happening and decided to take revenge on his father's behalf. He wanted to punish the enemy of his father for stealing his wares. But, the enemy became aware of his vengeful heart and prepared a trap for him. When Baba's son came to exact his revenge, he fell into the trap and was killed.

WOW, right?! I was like:

Thankfully we had some good people in the group that shed a little light. 

One person stated: The lesson here, as I see it, is not to jump to conclusions and expect the worst intentions from another person. It may prove to be your undoing.

And then my padrino came in and dropped these 3 little words: Never underestimate anyone.

Well, damn!

Not a believer of coincidences and a firm practitioner of turning the mirror toward myself first, I sat and meditated on this particular pataki.

So many of us are clear of right from wrong. We get indignant when someone isn't doing the right thing or when we know a particular situation is unfair. Sometimes, seeing it happen right before our eyes can be infuriating. At times, like the son, we want to take the cause up for ourselves and punish those that are doing wrong.

But, there are always forces moving on our behalf and it behooves us to try and use a calm head to see the full picture and perhaps be open to the idea that we might not have access to the full picture.

Baba's son didn't discuss what he was doing with his father. He allowed the rage he felt toward the thief and in part, allowed his pride as well, to cloud his judgement. Pride will do that sometimes. In this particular story, the son pays with his life. He underestimated that thief. He thought himself above certain things because of who his father was and not having a clear understanding of the person he considered his enemy.

Never. Underestimate. Anyone. 

But also:

It feels like we went from 0 to 60 in 3.2 seconds. Like, does anyone wonder what would've happened if he had just stepped up to the thief and asked what was going on and told him to stop stealing from his father? That could've happened. It probably should have. Maybe spoken to his father about it?

Like the other person stated, jumping to conclusions and assuming the worst meant that there would be a permanent solution to a temporary situation.

This was a reminder to me to take a step back and continue to do the thing that I enjoy doing: observe. After that? Ask questions. After that? Check my pride. I do not go into situations with rose colored glasses (anymore). But I do try to give people the benefit of the doubt. That's important. Now, that's not extended indefinitely so, don't get it twisted. But it is so important to check our own guts before we go poking at someone else's.

Lastly, this was a great big ass reminder for me that, I don't have to take up all the causes. I don't have to take up the unfair fights that are brought to my doorstep because, they're already being handled and, I am made aware of the strife beforehand (sometimes even before the particular situation arises) so, I'm always waiting with a smile because someone was sent ahead to provide both the warning and the solution.

Aché.

My Word of the Year for 2018

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This past month has been filled with lots of activity. Both good and bad. Basically sums up 2017 for me. I came out of this past year better grounded, whole in a spiritual sense and having lived louder than I ever had in the past, thereby embodying a savagery I hadn't known before. In spite of the trials and tribulations, I still felt unfuckwithable at a level of consciousness that I hadn't experienced in a long time, if ever.

Those were my words last year. Unfuckwithable was my main word with grounded, savage and whole being the anchor words.

Anchor words serve as a way to guide you back to your word of the year. And the word of the year? It's supposed to embody the way you want to live and the word that will define your actions and your goals.

My homegirl, Lucrecer and I had a grand old time on Facebook Live recently discussing the ins and outs of words of the year. If you missed it, here it is:

Coincidentally, Lu is making art with my words for the year (and yours too, if you'd like) and I cannot wait to have them in my possession!). I gave up on resolutions a while ago and Lu has added on to the idea of a word of the year with her anchor words.

2018 finds me at a stop sign, so to speak. My girls have been telling me to sit my ass down for a minute and when I started thinking about and meditating on my word, this was prime in my mind. I initially thought my word would be reset because there's so much that has to be restarted in terms of relationships, goals, and paths. But ultimately, as the days went on, I continued to have experiences, conversations and revelations that led me elsewhere.

My word of the year is: intentional. Merriam-Webster defines the word as:

1done by intention or design intended 

2a of or relating to epistemological intention
b having external reference

For me, the definition delves deeper into my expectation of self and that which I will manifest in the coming year.

INTENTIONAL: Being deliberate in word and deed. Practicing care in the people, places and things that are set about me so that only that which is truly meant for my greater good is in my surroundings. Being still and allowing my body, mind and spirit the time and space needed to make the moves which I am guided to make and letting no one move me from that which is best for all involved.

My anchor words tie back to my word and form the gestalt of my direction in the coming year.

Unapologetic: needing no apology for my responses and decisions which are based on my guidance and intuition. Being clear in my intent while carrying myself with integrity in all manners and as such, requiring no apologies when decisions have to be made that others might not understand. Needing no qualification outside of the one between the Universe and I.

Magical: Embracing of my full self and that which I was born into and out of. Making the impossible possible and capable of producing whatever results I set my mind to with strength and ease. Honing the skills and tools within at my disposal for my greater good.

Fierce: harnessing my emotions and intensity into being deliberate, precise and completely clear on my target with marksman precision so that I am living out my goals in harmony with my greatest good.

Let's see what this year brings along now that I have my words. Next up! Vision boards. Followed by some deep diving into goals thanks to The Planning Collective.

Do you pick a word of the year? If you haven't yet don't fret. And if you need suggestions, we have a running list over in The Planning Collective's Facebook page. Join us! We have stickies!

How Ego Paves the Road to Hell

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"The road to hell is paved with good intentions." How many of us have heard that? I know I quote this often. Mostly, to people that tell me about what their intentions were but who have done nothing to move toward those intentions and then are surprised when they fail. 

The New Year finds me in a completely new state physically, mentally and spiritually, thereby bringing forth a lot of introspection as I look back to figure out what I'll be carrying with me into this new year and what will be left behind.

I found a crossroad on the highway to intention that I think might be the reason why it paves the road to hell. It's an avenue of sorts. It's ego.

Ego defined is a person's sense of self-esteem or self-importance. It's the part of us that wants recognition, that wants attention. I'm not speaking of Freud's ego, that's a whole other post.

This past year, I've had many encounters where ego, whether consciously or unconsciously reared its ugly head.

Let the record show that level of consciousness doesn't diminish the amount of havoc that the ego can wreak. I've found that the more unconsciously the ego works within a person, the more damage it tends to bring forth.

But, I digress. Encounters. Ego.

So many of the messages that I've received this past year has been around the mirror. In other words, as I am experiencing the world at large, I have to stop and figure out what part of me is reflecting back and what lesson is there to learn.

I had to give up a precious relationship this past year. One that I thought would end very differently. Ego and intention had their hand in it. In similar ways, I've seen unions fall away these past few months and I've been in heartbreaking awe of it all. Because, I am familiar with what intentions people were walking in with and I assure you, those intentions were long erased when those souls decided to separate. And by the way, this not only applies to romantic relationships. I'm speaking about relationships and connections in general.

There are no failures. Only lessons. And the reflection I've been working through has been that of the ego. It's been a gut check for me. When things come up, I think "why is it upsetting?" "how does it look on the other side?" " what is it that looks like that inside of me?" And then, I get to work to dismantle whatever that is. It's not easy and I am glad for the guidance I receive both physically and spiritually.

So often ego is fed by others. Someone recognizes a weakness in us. It reminds me of the devil on the shoulder. The one that eggs you on. The one that feeds the insecurity within you without making it seem that way. Sadly that devil is sometimes the voice in our head. Oftentimes, though, those whispers come from outside of us, from a trusted friend or confidant. It's so important that we make sure we check back in with...INTENTION.

Intentional, by the way, is my word of the year. I'll get into that a little more later on this week but, my word is what brought me to this thinking. Dealing with ego in others and recognizing it within myself is what led me to putting these words down on the screen.

So often we let the ego run rampant and never check back with what our intention was in the first place.  We are sometimes embarrassed at how we came up short. And, unwilling to look in the mirror and admit this to ourselves or someone else, we let the ego do the work. That work can turn destructive in a heartbeat, taking away the dreams we created but maybe didn't actually work toward.

It's easier to blame others or let our insecurity run rampant than it is to admit that we performed subpar. When we involve our confidants, it's easy to keep those parts out of the story and thereby provide them with what they think exculpatory evidence when in fact it is an incomplete picture of the situation. This puts the matches in their hands and they light the fire under the ego to make it boil over.

[Tweet ""Ego says, see here's the proof that my negativity and fears were right. Higher self says, of course you have proof, because you created it." Maryam Hasnaa"]

The ego does it's work of putting the blinders on and lighting everything around it on fire in hopes that it burns the evidence and cleanses the self from guilt. But, we all know that doesn't happen. Instead, those intentions, the bricks that were carefully laid on solid ground, take a turn and you find yourself smack dab in the middle of hell. Because you refused to look in the mirror and admit a thing. Because you refused to acknowledge your shortcomings. Because you refused to set aside your ego like a fussy baby trying to get it's way and rather, fed it with hearsay, insecurity and the voices of others which were in and of themselves filled with insecurities and egos of their own (you've probably also heard of misery loves company, right?).

Then one day you look up and realize that the destination is NOWHERE NEAR where you intended to go. Now you have a choice. You can look once again into the mirror and admit to yourself where things went wrong or you can continue allowing the ego to carry you forth. And then the bricks continue to be laid. Not for the path that you so desperately wish you could take. They are laid for the home that you undoubtedly build in the hell that you've created for yourself.

Mike Enerio

The good news is, you always have a way back. The bad news is, you'll need to name the thing that got you away from your intention and pray that it's not too late to walk the path with those you thought you'd walk with.

The choice, as they say, is yours.

The Importance Of Placement In Life And Cirque

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Prologue: A few months I was hosted by Disney Springs to hang out, see the sights and tell you all about it. It was a great time. But, during that experience, I had an ah-ha moment. I wrote about it and, as with so many thoughts and feelings, it's been sitting in drafts. I wanted to get this up during the month of December in honor of this being the last month of performances of La Nouba at Disney Springs. I've seen La Nouba several times. The first time, I'd won the President's All-Star Award at my job and it called for a few days with all of the winners from across the country. I was in awe. The performance was magical.

I've seen it I think 3 other times since. One of those times, it was a nerve wracking show. I'm not sure what was going on but there were several mishaps that had me wanting to stop the show myself. I've always wondered if something had happened before the performance to unnerve the cast. But, no one got hurt and there was always something there to keep the show going and keep the performers safe.

This last time, I was with the Frog Princess. I watched the performance through her eyes. It did not disappoint! But, as the show went on, I started noticing something. While each act would take the main stage, not everyone would be off stage. At one point, I noticed that Les Cons were just hanging out in a patterned way. And suddenly, a light bulb went off.

While the main act is performing, everyone else has a role. It's not a role that you would immediately get, unless something went wrong. You see, Les Cons (and the Clowns, the Titan, and others) are there for a reason. If everything goes smoothly in the performance, you will never understand the purpose.

It is when something goes wrong that we realize the importance of their presence. Because, in reality, they are there specifically to support. Should a mishap take place, someone has already been assigned to stand, sometimes quite literally, in the gap.

[Tweet "See, sometimes we're the main act and sometimes we are the supporting cast."]

They are vital to the show. Without them, the main acts would not have the security and assurances that they need in order to perform their amazing feats. From the outside, you just see folks wandering. You might ask what they're doing there. Maybe your eye catches them and you end up missing a really amazing acrobatic move and you get annoyed with yourself for letting something distract you.

But in essence, the show happens because they are there. It runs smoothly because they move and perform in such a way that seems artistic, matter-of-fact and completely devoid of attachment to that thing that's happening. They appear to be watchers, just like us. But, the main acts know better. They are a well-oiled team. One takes the center stage only because the other takes the sideline.

[Tweet "One takes the center stage only because the other takes the sideline."]

It made me think of friendships. Of people that hold me down. Of people that I help support. And the whole damn thing just came full circle in such a way that made me lament the departure of this beautiful show even more.

See, sometimes we're the main act and sometimes we are the supporting cast. In both cases, we matter. We have to be careful that we don't fall into spaces where we feel as if we don't or as if we are always holding the net. I thoroughly enjoy being in the supporting role. I think supporting others is one of my life's purpose. But, I've learned (the hard way) that sometimes, people around me don't understand this dynamic or have honored the mutual respect that should flow easily between people in these relationships.

It's funny how things affect us, right? Interesting how we can watch the same thing (or read the same book) several times and wean something different each time. I call it growth.

Later on after the show, I reached out to a few of my friends. My spiritual connections that hold the ropes to the nets under me when I am swinging from the rafters. They told me I should write about it. So here I am.

The last show will be on December 31st. I want to try and make my way back to see it one last time and see what else I catch while the magic fills the stage. If you're in the area, I hope you get a chance to see it before the final curtain falls.

I promise, you won't be disappointed.

 

 

Access Denied

I struggle with limiting access to myself. Anyone that meets me (and actually likes me) will tell you that I am open with my words, heart and deed. I try to do for others because I feel that others have done and will do for me, in my path. I pay it forward. I listen to people and share as much of myself as I can. My spirit was born to serve and my soul is given to speaking truths that not everyone can tune in to without guidance.

I find myself sitting quietly in a hotel room, getting ready to head back home after attending a beautiful drumming and being guided toward some truths of my own. So many of the words, spoken by different mouths and in different tongues, said the same thing.

While scrolling through Instagram late at night, after eating greasy food and dishing out tea with my girl Keka, I saw this:

Further confirmation. I’ve been pulling into myself for a while now. Understanding that, first and foremost, I need my own energy to care for myself because in the past, I’ve  foregone my needs (mind, body and spirit) to help others.

There's nothing like the heartbreak of you speaking life into someone, nurturing their souls, putting balm on their wounds only to have them go right back as if you hadn't expended all this physical and spiritual energy.

It hasn't happened once or twice or even 3 times. I will own that I've allowed that by not understanding certain things. I've been on this path my entire life. I continued to give because I thought that was part of my purpose. I've had people squander so much of what I have lovingly put into their hands.

And let me say that it isn't about getting a thanks or being praised. I believe this is part of my work. It's about putting in time and energy and then seeing people in the same state of hurt and loss, continuing to perpetuate generational curses and starting some new ones of their own.

In this quiet moment, I recall the origins of myself. Those that Mami would caution me about telling others. The ones that are tucked away in the folds of my soul, just waiting. 

Waiting on this moment when I so clearly see, understand and am finally able to act on the thought that no, not everyone deserves my energy. That there are people that continue to feed off of it for their own purposes.

And the truth is...this gift? It's mine to hold and wield. It's time for me to do just that. 

Today, I am seeing people for who they are. Those that open their hearts like I do, those that genuinely care, I thank you.

I also see those that smile in my face while caressing the knife in their hands. Those standing on the sidelines waiting for me to fail. And guess what? You've already been presented to me by name and intent with the truth and the resolution for how to handle you.

Yes, the circle gets smaller while the glow up gets bigger. I'm okay with that. 

For now, access is generally denied.

Setting Intentions and Understanding Yourself

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I'm a firm believer of the soul of the Universe. Of God. Of spirit. I was raised that way with spirit flowing into homes in the same way that the clear blue waters creep up the sand during high tide. Ever since I was a child, I have had pretty good intuition. As I grew up, I was tricked into thinking that my intuition was glitchy. That it somehow had acquired a virus due to certain circumstances and could no longer be trusted.

That was a bold face lie.

Nene_No_No

As the years have passed by, I've become acutely aware of my senses. You know, the thing that people tell you that you shouldn't listen to? My faith has grown by leaps and bounds thanks to my hardships and heartbreaks. Which happens to feed my "everything happens for a reason" philosophy.

I've reached a level of transcendence that I hadn't felt before. Possibly cuz my ass is now 41 and finally learning thangs. BOOP! I said it.

Yeah_Beyonce

Which brings me back to conversations I've continually had over the last month or so specifically around intent (both yours and others'), spiritual gifts and peace of mind.

Perhaps none of this makes sense to you. But I've just completed a bit of meditation as I prepare to set my intentions for the month and was hit with a certain level of introspection.

A great deal of times we stand in front of someone, waiting for the truth and get nothing but a lie. That could be in words or deeds. We have to make a choice then. Do we trust our gut? Do we set our intentions in such a way that we live out the peace and truth that we wish to see in the world?

I guess I have more questions than answers. But the one thing that's become clear to me is that you cannot possibly go through life exclaiming to be a good person or to have a good heart when, in fact, all intentions and deeds prove actions to the contrary. That is toxic. Not only to those around you but to your very own essence.

Which leads me back to peace. And happiness. And intent.

Jay Clap

When all is quiet, I feel an immense level of gratitude and peace. Knowing that my life is going exactly the way it was meant to. Understanding that while I might regret certain decisions in principle, I do not regret where I was led.

I wish nothing but good for the world. It is needed, don't you think? But I have a deeper understanding that I cannot send out good if my heart is not set to good intentions. And also: that good will not return. Not the honest good that we want and deserve. It comes back tainted. As if it's been touched by hands that first touched coal.

As you get through your own spiritual awakening you will be able to see a little better. No, you're still gonna need Lasik for that 30/40 vision. But you will no longer need to trust anything else other than your own gut and spiritual gifts to make decisions about your surroundings.

When you reach that point, a veil will be lifted from your eyes and you will see others in a different light. More importantly, you will see yourself differently. That's the important part.

Do you set intentions for you life? 

Maya_Plate_Quote

Soulful Sundays: Sunrise and Vision

Last week I got on a plane entirely too early. The beauty of it was that I got to catch the sunrise from above the clouds. I had a chance to experience my own little bit of heaven. Flying is always a magical experience for me. I hope that never changes.

The month of August will bring with it rapid changes, expected opportunities, unexpected blessings and a plethora of awesome. I hope you will be around to see it all. How do I know all of this? I have a new vision board filled with all the things that will be rolling on this blog and the interwebs at large as it relates to Mamihood. And some of those thoughts and visions came to me while staring at the hues of the sun and the cottony clouds that felt like they held my hugs.

We shall see where it leads. In the meantime, isn't this a great sunrise? I'd take credit for the picture but I am not the one who created it. I am merely the one who appreciates it.

Soulful Sunday: Experiencing the Sunrise Above the Clouds

The Word(s) for 2015

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Epic adjective \?e-pik\: very great or large and usually difficult or impressive. Extending beyond the usual or ordinary especially in size or scope. Last week I thought I'd settled on my word for 2014. I feel as if I lived a good deal of my word in 2014 and wanted to keep that momentum going. What better word to select for my 40th year of life than epic?Do_Epic

I was praying out loud as I walked around the house shifting things around and setting things in order. Glad that no one was around to listen in on the conversation that probably makes me sound like a complete nut job. I prayed for God to bring me peace. For my purpose to be fulfilled. For me to help others. I remembered how last year, during the Women's Summit that my chapter hosted, I was asked to fill in as the keynote speaker was unable to make it. I remember Monica May, the MC, stating that I was not a stand in but rather "the vessel". And as I prayed out loud for God to fill me with grace, to heal my family and to make of my life what He set for it to be, I spoke this sentence "God, let me be the vessel". And then I realized what my word should be for 2015.

Vessel noun \?ve-s?l\: a vein or artery that carries blood through the body. A container (as a cask, bottle, kettle, cup, or bowl) for holding something. A person into whom some quality (as grace) is infused.

Vessel

But you know me. Why settle for one word when two explains it better. So, for 2015 my words are Epic and Vessel.

A great deal of changes are coming. I want to focus more on coaching, on continuing to build a better me for the sake of my child and because I deserve it, on creating healthy boundaries and understanding that I'm not here to change everyone and fix everything. I'm just here to be awesome and I can't let folks dull my sparkle.

I'm here to be the vessel with a message. The message will be different for each person that I'll come in contact with but ultimately, it will be epic.

See you in 2015 my good people!

Step through new doors. The majority of the time there’s something fantastic on the other side.

A Lesson In Mistakes and Believing

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I never believed in Santa as a child. I moved to the States on my 5th year of life. I distinctly remember leaving water, a cigar and grass for the Three Kings and their camels in Dominican Republic. I would leave them under my bed where they would deposit gifts just like they had to the baby Jesus at the manger. The next year, it is cold and I am told of a fat man that's coming to my house. Which was cool. Except that my brain, even at 5, was a little on the analytical side. And I remember opening up my cookware set and suddenly seeing a void of the same size and proportion above the pantry. I realized then that the gift had been stored there and never really had a chance to believe in Santa.

My belief is an intentional one and has always been rooted in God. I do believe. As a teen and an adult I came to the realization that Santa does exist to me. I would write him letters as an adult and I still think that magical things happen during this special season.

I think Santa is an extension of God. And my prayer and wishes to him get to look like a jolly old man during the holidays.

I'm not sure how much longer the Frog Princess will believe. Like me, she is observant and has questions beyond her years. But today, we still believe and we are tracking Santa and I don't understand how my spirit can feel giddy seeing him fly around the world. I'm a grown up, people!

But I think it's because of the happiness and joy that others feel. We track Santa thanks to NORAD (North American Aerospace Defence Command). And what I love about NORAD isn't the cool site that allows you to see Santa and learn about the places he's going to. It's the story of how the Santa tracker came to be.

In 1955, the Sears catalog had printed a phone number for kids to call to track Santa. Except that they misprinted the number and the calls went to the Colorado Springs' Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD). Can you imagine getting calls from kids asking you about Santa when you're doing your job? Well, Colonel Harry Shoup told his staff to give the kids an update on Santa. And that's how the Santa Tracker was born.

I LOVE the story! Because it is a reminder that even when there's a mistake, amazing things can happen! Today, Santa is tracked via radar, satellite, Santa Cam and fighter jets. This is serious, folks!

I wanted to share that with you. To remind you that your mistakes can sometimes lead to amazing things. To warm you up to miracles and to get you ready for the blessings to come. Merry Christmas, my good people.

Are you tracking Santa?!