Each morning I wake up, I work hard to not take it for granted that I am here. The realities of death and life are more poignant as I get older. I am so grateful for this moment of reflection. The fog of the morning beckons me to be still and sing praises to the Most High. I am in Prospect Park where the chirping of the birds and the gentle waves of the lake are soothing. The intermittent passing of ducks on the lake and birds flying low so that their wingtips touch the water leaves me in awe. And every time a bird flies close to me, so close that I can hear the fluttering of their wings, I feel even more blessed.
I woke up this morning listening to the beautiful voice of Snatum Kuar Khalsa, singing about grace and divine connection. Feeling completely in tuned, I ushered up prayers of thanksgiving and requests for guidance as I begin the day. There is so much that is uncertain. What is only certain is each specific moment. Truly being in the moment can seem, at times, to be an elusive experience but when it happens it is pure bliss.
This morning I began my day looking at my nephew as he slept, across from me, on my bed. He spent the night in my apartment. There is something beautiful about the first moments after waking up… and if you rest within those moments and welcome the new day, you can witness how loud quiet can really be.
After dropping off my nephew, I went to a Jamaican restaurant and ordered ackee and saltfish — Jamaica’s national dish and one of my favorite dishes. The sounds and smells of the restaurant made feel me so at home. Knowing that I had things to do before my yoga class (The time was 12:30pm and my class started at 3pm). I rushed back to my apartment, washed my clothes at the laundromat and hurried to my yoga class ( I made the intention to go to the class yesterday. Making the intention was big for me because it has been months since I have been to a class). After the class, which was oh, so wonderful by the way, I walked outside of the studio just as the rain ended. I stopped and bought a bag of potting soil for one of my plants and on my way home with the bag of earth in my hands I smiled at a building with my name on it and enjoyed the walk back to my apartment: I noticed the dews of rain on the flower petals and leaves of the trees and the puddles of water on the ground and how the sound of my steps were different with my sandals hitting the wet ground. And like the awareness I had this morning watching my nephew as he slept, I felt completely in the rhythm of life, walking home , from my yoga studio with a bag of earth in my hands and welcoming the beauty of it all.
I have been working on making my room more inviting and nurturing during my vacation. It is coming along at the pace it should happen… one of my goals for some time was to create a meditation/prayer section in my room and it came to me that I needed an altar near that space. I didn’t know how to begin creating an altar and so it came to me that the person who I visit for bodywork, Shakti, would be a great person to ask about this. She provided some great suggestions…not really suggestions on tangible things but elements that would be great to have on an altar, including air, water, and earth. So this morning, I got up after falling asleep sideways on my bed, took a shower and cleared a space and created my altar.
Thank you Shakti for your wisdom and guidance!
Last night I watched, on TED, a speech by Eve Ensler where she talked about living detached from her body for long time. It was very powerful…and honest. I believe most of us live detached from our bodies and because of this we are detached from the world. Eve talked about this separation, too, in her speech.
However, today, I will not let my words live behind Eve’s words or use “we”; I will use “I” or “me”. I have lived detached from my body for some time and even in the past when I thought I was connected to my body, it was based on pride — wanting to look a certain way, to be accepted a certain way. (For those times, for this moment, I recognize the compassion that I must have towards myself — body and mind.)
This morning I recognized so much of what Eve said was true for me and I started crying. They were tears of pain, regret and recognizing that this separation from my body allowed me to do NOTHING with what is currently happening in the Horn of Africa. The tears came after I heard another coverage on NPR about what’s happening in Somalia. Although I have been hearing about the famine and the death and even inquired about what can be done, I did nothing. So, the tears were probably tears of shame, as well.
For a few minutes after the tears ended, I realized this truth: How can I be connected, truly connected to my world, if I am so disconnected to my body, my self? What I eat, how I spend my time are evidences of this detachment. Just like my inquiry about what can be done about Somalia, I have inquired about what to do about my body: What do I eat? I have inquired about seeking personal balance: How do I spend less time at work? However, I have not really acted upon my inquiries.
There it is.
Today, I seek true connection to my self and to my world. I know it will be a gradual process, which will take compassion and self-love. Life is too beautiful and too real for me NOT to be connected. I took a break from work — vacation — because I recognized this truth, I could not articulate this until now but what I have been experiencing for some time is detachment. I want to experience connection. I want to live connected. I want to be connected. I want to feel connected.
Today is my birthday but somehow it feels surreal. It feels like an imposter, as if someone told me that it was my birthday and I wasn’t sure I believed them. I did not feel as if I wanted to celebrate, so I didn’t.
With all that said I did however begin the day lighting a candle, meditating and giving thanks for this day, for this year and for what is to come.
“What you focus on expands” – Oprah Winfrey
Last night I came home exhausted from feeling betrayed by the dishonesty of a group of people in my life. Withholding the truth is often worse than a straight out lie. This morning, still feeling remnents of the hurt that not even a shower that I had last night could wash away, I thought to myself before and after my quiet time/devotion/meditation that I needed to start keeping a gratitude journal again. I decided, in that moment, that I will not make all the negative experiences a big part of my reality anymore. I will work to focus a lot more on the good. I recognize that everything, every feeling has its place and yes, there needs to be time to grief but I am adamant today, in this moment about not asking, “Whyyy me?!