365 Days in DC=360 degrees of Evolution and 5 Lessons in A Pear Tree

September 14, 2011 marked my one year anniversary as a DC resident. To leave behind all that is familiar (but not comfortable), to embrace the uncertain with the belief that your destiny awaits you is a leap of faith that MANY WILL NEVER, EVER TAKE. I think a life without taking chances is a life that yields very modest, mediocre, and disappointing results. Life is a risk, and the only way to capitalize on gains is to get out there and play.

And this takes me to lesson #1:Everybody is taking chances.

Whether you're high or low, you got to tip on the tightrope

Take a chance…walk a tightrope

They are just not talking about them. Like any prospector on the cusp of a gold find, they are keeping quiet about their struggles. Weddings are taking place after many, painful failed relationships. Careers are being launched after years in the wrong positions in the wrong fields. Decades of living in silence are shattered by the voices of the newly empowered, shouting “I know my Purpose! I know my Worth!” or maybe a little less eloquent, yet just as powerful:

Fuck You.

Lesson #2: It is your honor, right, privilege, duty, responsibility…TO BE SELFISH.

Selfish Dish

Selfish Dish,serving Me, Myself, and I.

I had a conversation with a friend in which I shared a revelation I came to: You don’t get cool points for being a good person.  You don’t get an extra pair of wings in heaven for being everyone’s cheerleader or counselor.  If heaven exists as the return to glory and hell is a state of mind on earth, a whoooooole bunch of people are going to be very…very…pissed!  Your purpose is not to be someone else’s old faithful.  their shoulder to cry on.  the one who is left when everyone else moves on.  For ‘getting down in the trenches’.

No.  What you get is let down, broken-hearted, broken-spirited, disappointed, taken advantage of, picked up and put down when it’s convenient.  We spend time pursuing the proverbial ‘wings in heaven’ while crawling through hell on earth.

Stop it.

It’s more than fine to say ‘no’, ‘won’t’, and ‘to hell with you too’.  A person who cannot recognize the value in their self and their time will always be reminded by others that they don’t value them either.

Lesson #3:  It’s more than okay to dream big, dream wild, dream crazy, and dream CREATION!  Only then will you realize your PURPOSE!

Dreams are the Doorway to the Unknown

Dreams are the Doorway to the Unknown


Once a person realizes the first two lessons, they arrive at a point of ‘now what?’  They’ve spent so much time helping others to realize their potential and dreams that they realize they have greatly undervalued their own.  When you ask a person about their purpose, they usually tell you about their dreams.  But dreams typically involve the impact a person will have on the lives of others.  What’s in YOUR PURPOSE DRIVEN WALLET?

I have had dreams that I have ‘put on the back-burner’.  But the greatest dream of all included returning to my first and longest passion: Writing.  I had dreams of being a dancer (yes…she who can’t walk in heels will one day Samba in stiletto’s!), a singer, and a business owner.  The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.  But you can’t journey unless you take the first step.

Lesson #4:  It is okay to LET GO.

Let go. Let  Go. LET GO. LET GO! LETGO! LEGGO! LEGOOOOOOO!

Let go Now.

Let go. Now. It’s okay.

Let go of the ideas you have surrounding your relationships.  Your values.  Your ideas.  Your constraints.  Your fears.  Your doubts.  Let go of your jobs.  Let go of your spouses.  Let go of your boyfriends/girlfriends.  Let go of the friends who do not reciprocate.  As a matter of fact, let go of ANYONE who does not reciprocate! Let go of your issues that hold you back, keep you constrained, and make you ‘that person’ that people would rather do without.

Between March and July of this year, I let go of 6 interpersonal relationships.  HARDEST THING EVER…that really wasn’t.  I realized that by holding onto those 6 relationships, I was not nurturing the 12 relationships that were standing in their place.  It was then that I realized that for every person who lives for a season in your life, there are two that would love nothing more than to spend a lifetime with you as your higher self.

Let them go.  Stop holding so tightly to old ideas and old relationships.

Lesson #5:  It’s okay to start over. Again.  and Again.  And Again-Again.

If the days and nights can start over, so can we.

If the days and nights can start over, so can we.

If you believe that God created the Heavens and the Earth in 7 days, you realize that each day was the fresh start of a new creation.  If you believe that God created woman from man, then you believe that God too knew it was okay to start over again.  If you understood how important it was for you to get IT right (and by it, I mean YOU), then you would realize that the life you lived up until the point you decided to do something different was all to solidify your resolve and strengthen you to stand in your truth.

I’ve started over again.  Big deal.  Who am I to anyone, and what does my journey matter? It doesn’t.  The truth is, everyone is starting over.  Everyone is revamping.  At this moment, I can name many CEO’s who have failed or are failing in their businesses.  I can name grown women, women old enough to be grandmothers, still playing vindictive middle school mind games.  I can name grown men who are no better off now than they were when they lived in their parent’s homes.  The most powerful man in the free world, our President, is facing a crossroads where he has two choices:  be stubborn and continue down the same path…or start over. Because sometimes failure to do so means a failure to thrive.

(You knew there would be a political reference in this post, right? This is DC after all!)

I know that I have grown as an individual.  Through my mistakes and miscalculations, I’ve grown stronger, smarter, and wiser.  I love more passionately.  I learn more humbly.  I am okay with not being right.  I am fine with being me.  DC brought that experience for me.  From Southeast Pancake Houses to Northwest Dance Studios.  From school meetings and political revelations to falling in love with Capitol architecture.  To late nights with school books to watching culinary creations with chickpea flour and Asian Pears.

That is my DC experience.

And experience brings evolution.

Spiral and Cycle your way to your Highest Self.

Spiral and Cycle your way to your Highest Self.

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Why…Do You…Do What…You Do?

*Disclaimer: This post is from July 24, 2011.  Yep…kicking myself.  This was timely, and I got in the way of it’s message.  So I’m posting it now.  No pics.  Just my truth.  I’d say enjoy, but I’d rather you feel me.  So…Feel.*

Today is Sunday.  And I am sitting inside a dark house under the AC.  Because it is a code red in the nation’s capital, and after two days of going in and out of the sun, I decided that I was going to spare myself the discomfort of yet another heat-induced migraine!

Sunday is more than the name of the day that starts the beginning of our week.  Named after the Sun- an entity that represents light, sustenance, rejuvenation, fresh starts, enlightenment, and all things bright and shiny- it is a day of rest and preparation for the upcoming week as well.

For me, Sunday is all of those things, and then some.  A few weeks ago, it meant spending hours in front of the computer as I raced to meet midnight deadlines for school.  It meant bracing myself for the busy Monday  morning at work, where Mondays are bad enough without it being a Monday in a medical office with people who were always in a state of crisis.  It meant wanting to cook elaborate Sunday dinners, eat until I was sure I was sinning, take a nap, wake up to movies and laughter with family, and just being easy.

Today is no different.  My plan was to attend a morning Kundalini Yoga class, but I overslept because I was out late the night before.  I woke up to more housework than I cared to acknowledge, and a child with a cold.  I have hair and laundry to wash, a house to clean, and passages to write.  So far, I’ve managed to order a pizza, spend money that I shouldn’t, and be unable to concentrate on anything while my son plays his favorite video game.

Sound familiar?

Which brought me to a question for myself: Why Do You Do What You Do?

Why?  Why do you invite inspiration into your life…and then neglect it?  Why do you pray for and practice observation and intuition…only to ignore it?  Why do you recognize your purpose…but then co-opt it?  Why do you pray for more time…and then waste it?

Do you?  Do you really want the things you pray for, or are you so use to praying for and wanting more that it has become a part of the thing that you ‘do’?

Do what?  Are you still trying to figure out what you are supposed to be doing?  It’s normal to bloom late in life, but I think it’s tragic when we can’t at least see the red thread that runs through our experiences.

I’ll give you an example:  When I was little, I wanted to be an author (I have been writing since I was 6 years old).  When I became a teenager, I wanted to be an attorney, with dreams of being a politician.  I interned with city and county officials and even worked on a political campaign while in high school.  Somewhere along the way, my passion turned towards African history and culture.  After that, I answered the call for education, and began training in Montessori education.  Then I turned my sights towards business management, and now I am pursuing an MBA in Economic Crime and Fraud Management.

What the hell?

Before you suggest I take the equivalent of Career Vyvanse to address my professional ADHD, remember that I live a very purpose driven life (though not all the time on purpose).  My job is to get in tuned with my spirit.  My profession is my faith that upliftment and liberation of oppressed populations will change the world for the better.  My career is to seek those individuals and opportunities that show me myself, my truth, and the truth of the world around me.  My purpose is to aid in the healing of women, children, and families above all else.

That’s what I do.

You do?  Yes, I do.  I touch hearts, minds, and lives whether I mean to or not.  Whether I realize it or not.  I have an ability, and it’s raw and it’s pure.  It sustains me and motivates me and above all else, it encourages me.  Others do what I do, but nobody can do it the way I do it.  I’m learning that day by day.  Spirit is waiting for me to believe thoroughly and truly, and to stop seeking the long way around to get to the blessing with my name on it.

Can you have this same conversation with yourself?

This is not about self promotion.  I am Te Coracao (Your Heart).  This comes from my heart to yours.

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Sets in the SiTea

*Disclaimer: This post is from July 2011. I’m working on a few things in 2012. Talking myself out of talking myself out of blogging on a regular basis is one of them. The second is…shorter posts! I…..haven’t figured that out yet! And this disclaimer isn’t helping, so…POOF!*

Yesterday I felt like Evilene from The Wiz.  Not that I felt like a big, ugly witch who made everyone around me tremble in fear.  But I did feel like my plans for the weekend were being flushed down the toilet.  To which I just declared “Don’t nobody bring me no bad news”.

Did you bring me bad news? What did I say? WHAT DID I SAY?!!

Did you...bring ME...more bad news? You did? Oh, ok. Wait right there...

I’ve certainly been in the throes of experiencing expansion and contraction in my life.  Blessings and takesies-backsies.  Just when I think I’m out of a rough patch, THEY bring me back in.

Life is about refinement and growth.  I get it.  I dig it.  I applaud it even.  But sometimes, I want life to be a little less liberal, a lot more conservative, and let me catch my breath.

Today, I grabbed a book, grabbed my keys (forgot my GPS), and went for a drive.  I was trying to find a restaurant (whose name I won’t mention here, because I’ve only eaten there once and they don’t get that kind of love from me yet!) to satisfy my comfort food craving.  Something with avocado and sour cream.  A tortilla shell.  And meat.  Strike one million on my journey back into vegetarianism.

I called a girlfriend enroute and we just talked.  The way girlfriends do.  We laugh.  We fuss.  We complain.  We vent to each other so we don’t haul off on our loved ones.  We strategize.  We support one another.  We encourage each other.

Because I can’t walk and chew gum, or apparently drive and talk (hands free! I was on hands free!), I kept missing my turns, which in downtown DC is another way of saying “I guess I want to take the long way around town!”.  I ended up somewhere in Northwest terribly lost but admiring the homes and green space that they apparently enjoy over here, a rarity downtown and east of the river.

Since I was in Northwest, and couldn’t find a place to satisfy my animal protein fix, I decided to head over to SiTea: The Spice Boutique, the sister company to Mama Sita Studio.  I write a lot about Mama Sita studio because I love a place of good people and good energy.  And now, as I have discovered, good food and beverage!

SiTea is this incredible establishment that is as dynamic in design as its proprietors, Dr. Sunyatta Amen and Lady Dane Figuerora.  I’d stopped in for water and coffee cake for my daughters on my way to dance class in the past, but promised myself that one day I would go in, have some tea, and just chill.  I am trying to kick my coffee habit as well.  You’d think an Aries would know to stay far away from caffeine, right!

So, this is where I found myself today.  After the bad news I’d received, I needed to just decompress.  There were two customers in there, so I had a seat on the sofa, picked up a book on birthdays, and read.  About myself.  About ideal environments and attributes, strengths and challenges.  I listened to the conversation, and laughed with its participants.  Eventually, the four of us began to converse about so many topics, you could tell we just wanted to get some stuff off our chests.

We talked about politics.  And economics.  And the wealth gap.  We talked about spirituality, and religion.  History, and sexuality.  We talked about diet and lifestyle, and so many things that just seemed to blend as perfectly as the iced tea Dane served me in a martini glass lined with organic brown sugar and honey. I think the fruit is called a Lychee.  The tea is called a Lycheetini.  I call it SEXY AND FABULOUS!

Cosmically Delicious!

Yes...you need more of this in your life. I know you do. Come on...come on!

I love new experiences, anything that challenges me to open my mind and EVOLVE.  Dane and SiTea kept me honest today, and in return, I honored the covenant I made with my body.  To be true to it, to take care of it, and to heal it.  I stayed on the vegetarian path today.

But more than this being about what I put in my body was what I REMOVED from my body.  Years of repression, and responsibility for those things that were never mine in the first place.  Never mind how they got there, it’s been time to let them go.  I talk about that a lot because there are a lot of people struggling with LETTING GO.  Generations of pain that remain trapped in our veins.

There are pockets of healing in our cities.  For me, it’s in the SiTea.  And I’m glad they are there.  I know that I can pull up and go in for a set.

And it’s the best set I ever had!

A smile that lights up the world...

A smile that lights up the world...

Dane Figueroa Edidi- an African, Native American and Cuban performance artist, dubbed Lady Dane, began singing with his aunt and uncle (Liz Figueroa Byrd & Bill Byrd) in Baltimore, as well as in Church. Attending the Baltimore School for the Arts he began to study jazz and was mentored by Ruby Glover and Mark Cook.

Visit Dane Figueroa Edidi on the web at:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dane-Figueroa-Edidi/158136887532528

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There Is Healing in those HIPS!

Sometimes life feels like I am preparing for this...

Sometimes…I take the long way around things.  It’s what my grandmother would call “beating around the bush”.  I don’t know why I do this, perhaps it’s some combination of nerves and insecurity, but I spend so much time in my head preparing myself for experiences that by the time I finally leap, I’ve exasperated myself and everyone else around me in the interim!

...yet, when I have Faith, and leap, I feel like THIS!

I realized that this is no way to live.  So, after nearly two months of scheduling conflicts and burning my candle at both ends (and even finding a way to burn it in the middle!), I finally made my way to Brazilian Samba class with Zezeh at Mama Sita Studio in DC.  Last night I attended my third class. The energy was, as always, INVIGORATING!  These students love the dance, and how could they not?  The teacher, Zezeh, is so full of love herself!  Smiles are a part of samba attire and warm, sweaty hugs after a midsummer’s night dream of dancing are like nectar from the Samba gods!

The family that PLAYS together, STAYS together!

I attempted to sneak out the house by myself, but somehow, my husband and three children (all dancers and martial artists) ended up in the car with me.  So, we set out for the little studio with big spirit on 4th street in Northwest DC together.

At my first class, my body hurt so bad it was good!  I had to stop from time to time to allow my feet and legs to adjust to the new movements.  I felt like I had cement shoes on my feet, I could hardly lift them at all, let alone in time to the music!  I felt so heavy and weighed down, but inside, my spirit was SOARING!  I vowed then and there that I would attend every single class.

This is the first promise and agreement that I have kept with myself in a long time.

My second class found me able to dance with no pain in my legs at all.  My third class, last night, found me more comfortable in my body, my skin, and swaying my hips in time with the music.  I found it easier to move my feet ‘samba style’ when I stopped THINKING about it so hard, and just trusted that they would know what to do.  When I stop tensing up from the expectation that I’m not doing it ‘right’, my body winds and undulates and has a mission of its own!

But those hips…those hips that rock and shake and groove!  Those hips that make you want to move!  Those hips that were hidden and bed ridden, and baby driven.  Those hips that forgot the joy of dance, that call to romance…those hips that wanted a second chance.  At life.

The hips don't lie!

There is healing in those hips.  All you have to do is hear the drums and open your heart, and it will find you.

Te Coracao (Your Heart) knows what you need, are you ready to listen?

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Who YOU were meant TO BE

Late last night, I shared a picture on Face Book and Twitter that made a few heads twist and turn from side to side.  I’m sure the thoughts were “What the heck is that?!  Did she take a picture of her…is that a…???

I’ll give you a few hints:

It’s feminine.

It’s fleshy.

It’s succulent.

It’s wet.

It’s pink.

It’s hidden deep, deep, deep on the inside.

Still no idea?  Here’s a visual:

She's so Pretty!

Before I reveal the source of this divine, feminine presence, I want to share with you the lesson she taught me.  About truth.  Acceptance.  And above all else…Perserverence.

I have to start with a question though: Who are YOU?

No…who are you REALLY?

I’m sure you probably answered the question in the form of your 11 second elevator speech, peppered with your accomplishments and successes.  You probably defined yourself by your age, marital status, motherhood/lack of motherhood designation, and career status.  Realizing that you said more about who you were in relation to others, you probably caught yourself and backtracked, making certain to mention what you LIKE to do and what your goals are in life.

Is this you? Well, aren't you something like a phenomenon! Tired as hell too!

If that is the totality of who you are, great! Good for you! But be honest…do you ever feel that you are being just a tad bit…inauthentic?  Maybe you don’t, but some of us do.  I know that for years, I struggled with the presentation I thought the world (aka those I cared about) thought they wanted from me, and my ‘authentic’ self.

In the beginning, I believe we had a word.  And that word was ‘truth’.  And we lived in our truth.  And we rejoiced in our truth.  And the world loved our expression and celebration of our truth, and even encouraged us in our truth.

And then…we grew up.  Once we turned two, and the ‘terribles’ began, the ‘training’ began.  We learned to filter and censor.  We learned to be polite and gentle and kind and sweet.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with those things; social norms dictate what is and what is not acceptable.  But somewhere along the way, the forces that shaped our external world thought it would be better to alter our internal world.

Brown Sugar...Allspice...and PAPRIKA!

We’ve heard repeatedly ‘train up a child in the way he (???) should go, and when he (again…???) is old, he (sigh…???) will not depart from it’.  We also heard ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’.  And let us not forget ‘boys are made from snakes and snails and puppy dog’s tails…girls are made from sugar and spice and everything nice’.

And there is where foreshadowing reared its ugly head.  We’ve struggled to live up to the ideas, the ideals, and the expectations ever since.  You were your authentic self, but a series of somebody’s (all people who mattered…who really only wanted to matter to their own someone or someone else’s) forced a change on your internal environment.

And you became someone else.

Which brings me back to the above mentioned picture.  What you are looking at is the inside of something unnatural.  Something pretty and convenient, but inauthentic.

You are looking at the inside of a seedless watermelon. See?

A seedless watermelon is just a seedless watermelon...

I hate seedless fruit.  To me, they represent the height of man’s manipulation of nature’s natural process.  A seedless fruit will never reproduce on its own.  A seedless fruit was created by someone who failed to understand the relationship that fruit had with the ecosystem in which it should have been allowed to flourish, on its own terms.  Fruit, to me, are feminine, and a seedless fruit symbolizes to me the barren-ness of femininity.  Our very existence is defined through a lens that is patriarchal, paternal, and masculine.

Now, this is NOT a rage against men, because sexism hurts everyone.  It just hurts some a little less than others a great deal of the time.

I was disappointed when I saw the sticker that said ‘seedless’. 

Sidebar: My husband bought the watermelon, by the way.  Okay, back to being deep!

When I cut through its shiny, deep green perfectly round exterior, and marvelled at its vibrant pink inside, I noticed the stark contrast of what was missing.

The seeds.  The potential for this fruits continued existence.

And my children noticed it.  “What’s wrong with it, mommy?”  “What are those things inside of it, mommy?”  “Is that where the seeds are supposed to go, mommy?” “I don’t want to eat it, mommy.  It doesn’t look right”.

And they were right.  The watermelon was pitted where there should have been seeds.  And it was, to me, a sad commentary on the current state of self.  There should have been so many seeds within us, to be sown in our lives and the lives of others. Instead, we have empty pockets of potential.

I cut into this watermelon, determined to make the best of it, because after all, this was it unless I drove across town in the middle of rush hour traffic, in the middle of a weekday, in Washington, DC (code speak for yeah…not going to happen.  Apathy kills the authentic self as well!).  It was sweet and satisfying, cool and refreshing.  But I wondered about its nutritional value.  I wondered if I was really getting from it what I wanted to get from it. 

Are we really getting out of our relationships and experiences what we want to get out of them?

The deeper I cut, the more I began to notice these tiny, thin, pale, white, mutant seeds.  What in the world were these?  Were these the undeveloped, embryonic form of what should have been watermelon seeds?  There were so many of them, but they were absolutely useless.  No value.  

How much of your time, self, energy, tears, laughter, help, comfort is being sent out into a world that just can not receive you? 

You’re not authentic, and you’re still rejected because you’re not genuine?  That…hurts.

...and then I found a seed. So...what does that make it now?

But I kept digging, and then I saw something.  I saw…what is this?! Something dark, brown, large, and hidden.  Tucked away on the side of the watermelon’s inner core.

A seed.  A single, solitary, hidden, determined seed.

Somewhere along the way, this seed said “To hell with agribusiness and price per pound.  To hell with splicing and blending and enhancing and adding and controlling and watering and artificial lighting and picking before peak time and putting in a box and shipping me out of my natural environment and taking me out of my element and leaving me in here alone to forge myself under the cover of darkness where there is no one else like me and nobody knows I’m here and when they get to me they may over look me or they may even toss me out but DEAR GOD I’M HERE!!! I’M HERE!!!”

I took a picture of the seeds side by side for comparison.

The Original. And the Imitator.

I’m that seed.  I’m round and brown and I got here by mistake but I’m right on time.  I’m the original me, surrounded by a million imitators (negative agreements) that will never be me.  I’m what was supposed to be at the core but it was convenient for me to be something else and someone else.  It meant giving and providing support and meaning for other things in other capacities for someone else’s end.

That seed is that part of us, that original truth, that can never…ever…disappear.  No matter how hard we try.  She held on, hidden, maintaining her truth.  Waiting to be discovered by the cutting and hacking and consumption of the flesh that surrounded her.  And she dared to be noticed.  And she dared to be brown.  And she dared to be big.  And she dared…to…be.

Who are you really?  Are you who you were meant to be.

Your true seed…your self…is waiting.  At the center of Te Coracao, to thine own self be true.

Sacred grove of Osun, in Osogbo, Nigeria. The center of Femininity (Femi9unity)!

 

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New Beginning:Operation: Boca and Booty!

Me before...

Today…was…AWESOME! And it just keeps getting better.  I took the rest of the semester off from my MBA program and lost my job on Wednesday…and picked MY LIFE back up!  Isn’t that just divine intervention at it’s finest? A “oh-my-god-what-the-heck-am-I-going-to-do-now-please-don’t-let-me-fall-panic-panic-panic-PANIC!” moment became a “I-think-I-better-dance-now” moment!

Me after...O-So-sUN-y!

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine came into town to attend a belly dance conference with none other than the very beautiful, very talented, very renowned Dr. Sunyatta Amen and the Belly dancers of Color Association.  She thanked me for my hospitality with a VIP ticket to the concert on the closing night.  I was in the midst of finishing up the semester, but I decided to go, and I’m glad I did.  Part of my initial plan upon moving to DC was to join BOCA and get my body back into shape.  Of course, the best laid plans often go belly up (and in my case, belly out!) because I get so caught up in revamping my life that I forget to live my life.  This turned out to be just the invitation I needed!

Dr. Amen, a gift and inspiration!

The performances were very nice, but the closing act REALLY activated every cell in my body: BRAZILIAN SAMBA!

Sidebar:  To know me is to know that I adore all things Brazilian.  The language, the culture, the people, the food, the music, the dance, the martial arts, the names, the buildings, the clothing, the EVERYTHING!  I love how Brazil holds the largest concentration of Afrikans in the diaspora outside of Afrika herself.  And I love that the spirit of Afrikanity is enmeshed within the very fabric of Brazilian society on nearly every level!  So, I claim Brazilian ancestry, whether my ancestors arrived there and continued on to America or not, and I do so because THEY ARE MINE! Now…moving on…

Meu Brazil! Meu coracao!

Muito obrigado Zezeh! Estou rejuvenescido!

The Brazilian Samba class is taught by an amazing woman named Zezeh.  My ten-year old daughter, one of my closest and dearest friends, and I went to preview the class and was told by Dr. Amen to “get out there on the floor and dance!”, which we did!  We moved, shimmied, picked up our feet, swayed our hips, shook our booty meat (gotta love a culture that loves the booty!), and turned in circles together!  It was so INVIGORATING!  I never feel more in touch with my femininity and strength than I do when I am in the presence of other women, in all shapes, sizes, and stages of life.  Warm hugs of welcome, high fives of accomplishment, and determination to transcend physical limitations is the epitome of inspiration to me!

I decided then and there to join the studio, and will return tomorrow to preview the Afro-Cuban Orisha dance class.  All in all, I will most likely work out (via dance) in excess of ten hours each week.  For me, that is just what I need.  I am in a state of health emergency, and when I was at my strongest, at my healthiest, and at my happiest, I worked out six days a week.  I’m older now, and my body doesn’t want to do certain things anymore.

But she loves to dance, and she loves all things Brazilian.  So…MUITO OBRIGADO ZEZEH E DR. AMEN!

This is where it's happening! If you don't know, now you KNOW!

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At the end of the day…A New Beginning

Today I sit alone in the peaceful quiet of the morning.  A warm cup of coffee, the rich aroma of French Vanilla creamer, and the sweet soprano of a bird’s song sweep over my soul as a blessed trinity.  This morning is a new day, and I am truly grateful for it.

Hello Morning. Now when does the fun begin?-Hopeless by Dionne Farris

My reality of two days ago was a different story.

Deadlines for school had come and gone.  My husband was in the midst of training and orientation for his new job.  The children are out of school, and the question of what to do with three active children when this was supposed to be a summer of “stay-cations” and relaxation had still yet to be answered.  I worried about family members’ and my health (I’m a diabetic).  Above all else, I had a (brief) job that I no longer enjoyed in an organization I no longer understood.

This is called Spiral-Chaos. Have you ever felt like this?

As an MBA student entranced by organizational studies, this would become the single most straw that broke this overreaching camel’s back (here is where I insert a business student analogy):

In order for an organization to function efficiently, systems must operate with clearly defined parameters. 

Definition of roles, clarity of expectations, and realistic approaches to set goals is vital to survival.  Whether your organization is a corporation, a community, a family, or an individual, you need to have a system.  If the system is broken (or never existed in the first place), you will find yourself in the midst of chaos.

And this is where I was.  Two days ago.

So I stopped.

Sometimes, the hardest thing for us to do is stop.  Just pump (or slam on) the breaks and stop.  Is it a woman thing? An American thing? A thirty something racing against a career/relationship/lifestyle milestone thing?  For me, it was all the above.  And I had to end some things, willingly and unwillingly.

Some choices were made for me:  The job ended.

Some choices I made of my volition: I withdrew from my summer classes (with a month left in the semester).

Some choices hurt me to my core: I ended a few relationships, personally and professionally.

Some choices were long overdue: I stopped worrying about what I couldn’t control.

And some choices reminded me that life is meant to be enjoyed:  I slept a little longer in the morning, cooked breakfast for my children, and took midafternoon swims.  I snuggled down at night next to my husband instead of spending hours in front of the computer surrounded by school books and articles.

Not just peace, but Serenity. Like the serene beauty of the Moon, let your lessons illuminate your life.

I shut down the system I had in place and began the process of writing a new one.  The chaos that we call “a lot going on” is the perfect opportunity to be still and observe what life just might be trying to tell us.  From chaos comes creation.  From chaos comes endings, and at the same time, new beginnings.

And this is the pattern of life.  We are not always up, nor are we always down.  We experience episodes of great expansion and even greater contraction.  It’s painful at times, and scary.  Uncertainty always is.  But like the birth of a child, with each expansion and contraction comes a great gift.  The pain, ultimately, is worth it.

(Here is where I insert another business student analogy.  I need to make these tuition dollars count!):

Organizations experience a life cycle, with a birth, an adolescence, maturity, and death.  When management is able to make positive changes to the system, they are able to maximize outputs. 

Failure to do so results in stillborn results.

(That last line?  All me.)

At the end of the day, you always find yourself repositioned for a new beginning.  Today, I choose to fully honor that truth.

The early bird’s morning song has ended, and the buzz of a city awake has begun.  I could get dressed and rush out to face the day.  Instead, I choose… to begin my second cup of coffee.

You heard the caption! What are you waiting for?

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