Identity In Progress

Recently, I saw a social media post of a former classmate in reference to his ancestry results. Like most African Americans, I have wondered about my own lineage. When I’ve asked the question, few family members can speak beyond their great-grandparents. A few years ago I attempted to create a family tree but when suggestions for next of kin appeared I was be completely lost. I didn’t know who was married to whom or all the children names to keep up the momentum. After several attempts, frustration took over and I pushed these ideas to the side.

The furthest generation I know about is my great-grandparents. I knew my father’s family was from Memphis because we traveled every summer there to celebrate my great grandfather’s birthday. He lived to be one hundred years old. After he transitioned around the time I was in middle school, the trips to Tennessee got far and few in between. I never got the opportunity to meet my paternal great-grandmother but I always heard that she was a very pretty Native American.

 

My mother’s family was from St Louis. However, we never traveled to Missouri as a family. I only remember meeting my maternal great-grandmother once. Her reputation proceeded her so I wasn’t upset about not getting to know her. My mother spoke often of her quick temper and no-nonsense approach toward kids. The only memories I have is of her scowling and looking like a mirrored image of my grandmother. My maternal great-grandfather had already transitioned so I never set eyes on him in this lifetime.

 

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When my maternal grandmother transitioned in 2014, I took on the task of creating the obituary. That was a very eye-opening experience. I discovered for the first time that my maternal family originated in a small town outside of Little Rock Arkansas. In all my years it had never been mentioned. I attempted to do the last name search on my grandmother’s maiden name but my search didn’t yield any results. So once again I pushed the idea out of my mind. Over the years I’ve wondered about where my family originated but felt frustrated with each dead end. However, it is my hope that this ancestry test will provide another starting point in my journey to find out more about my lineage.

 

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I’ve had all kind of dreams on the subject in the last five years. When I started horseback riding back in 2016, I was often visited by what felt like a paternal great great grandfather. I often felt like he was guiding and protecting me as I learned to ride. I got the impression from his visits that he was a great horseman. In the visions, he was always seated on top of this beautiful brown horse. I felt very connected to him and as if he had chosen to help me discover a deeper part of who I was on that journey. In the dreams, he appeared to be Native American. For months we trotted along in slow motion then one day the horse took off running and instead of being scared I felt at home and protected. That experience gave me a greater appreciation for nature, animals and my inner wild child. I am a firm believer that spiritual beings and ancestors are very much a part of our everyday lives. It is my hope that I can confirm some of my experiences through this process.

 

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It’s funny how things around you start to happen when a particular decision is made. I have wanted to travel to Africa for at least two years but to be honest felt a little nervous about traveling their solo. I have traveled to several countries by myself at this point. In retrospect, I know my ignorance and fears have kept me from taking this journey sooner. As a youth, I remember being bombarded with negative images of Africa. Most imagery included war, rape, and starvation. But I also remember being very intrigued by the continent as well. As I book lover, I’ve read a wide array of books about African life and culture. However, unconsciously some of those negative ideas have still lingered somewhere in my psyche. But I made the decision a few months ago that I would journey to the motherland in 2019. Since I made that decision I have received two invitations to travel there with friends.

 

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I’ve also started having dreams about doing work over in South Africa. I don’t know what the work is at the moment but I feel that it will indeed be life-changing. All these I interpret as spiritual nudging. My dreams never lie to me and when I indulge in them I always come back feeling enlightened and more unapologetic about the choices that I have made in this life.

 

 

Peace and Blessings

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6 Months and Counting

It’s the fourth quarter and 2017 has been good to me. I’ve learned so much about entrepreneurship.  No matter how much research you do, nothing can teach you better than real life experiences. Here are the top six things I learned in the last six months.

Businesses are cyclical. I anticipated my slow season and had a one-dimensional idea of what I could do when it arrived. I wanted to spend time with family and friends. That, however, wouldn’t keep my business relevant or in the minds of potential customers. Since my slow season started earlier than anticipated I had to create a new plan.  That plan included me finishing my book, attending more networking events, vending at conferences and self-educating in preparation for the next season.

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Multiple streams of income are imperative. Yoga and meditation provide meaning and direction. I love sharing it with other people.  I’ve come to understand it is just a gateway to other opportunities.  In addition to mindfulness services, I offer meditation supplies at events along with my book. I also provide Reiki healing sessions. All are elements under a wellness umbrella. In addition, I am still a CPA and work on contract assignments as needed.

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Businesses will sell you anything, including what you do not need. My biggest lessons this year have been related to paying for services I didn’t need. I take accountability because it’s my responsibility to make educated purchases. I quickly came to understand that some businesses will knowingly sell you something of no real value to your business. They are in the business to make money.  I started my business to help, empower and inspire other people which leave no room for misleading others. It’s not necessary.  I believe people are lead to me and I have a spiritual responsibility to handle them with love and care. I learned to do more research on the front end and ask other business owners for referrals.

Leveling up is key.  I’ve been paying my dues and making my rounds. I’ve gotten comfortable in my arena and I’m now starting to see the same faces.  I recently decided it was time for me to find a new circle. My intent is to maintain a presence in the current one but to also put myself in a room with people who can teach me more. This is necessary for my long-term growth and prosperity.

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Ask for what you want. I am used to being independent and having to figure it out on my own. Entrepreneurship is all about relationships.  You have to ask for support.  You have to personally invite others to your events.  You have to ask for event and product sponsorships. In the business world asking for what you want is not frowned upon.  This is new territory for me but I am up for the challenge.

The best way to establish yourself as a leader in your industry is to plan your own event. Since I published ’60 Affirmations and Reflections for Entrepreneurs’, I’ve been looking for speaking engagements to promote it. The only roadblock is that I am not known as a speaker,  I am still considered a newbie in this arena. Therefore, I have been turned away more times than I’d like to admit.  I don’t take it personally because businesses have to protect their brand and affiliations. Then one day it hit me, instead of asking others for a seat at their table, why not create my own damn table and movement. If I want to prove I’m a great speaker, then I have to create a speaking event.  This lead to the birth of  ‘Quit Your Job in 90 Days’, an event designed for attendees to walk away with an actionable plan to leave an unfulfilling job. Ever since I made that decision two major opportunities have opened up for other events.  It’s almost like the doors came off the hinges.  Someone actually told me they researched me and they knew my story.  That is the highest honor to have another organization seeking me out to speak to their audience.

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There is no right way to plan for entrepreneurship.  While there are some overall commonalities that entrepreneurs will face, everyone’s journey will also be different. Hopefully, some can find value in my experiences and keep them in mind in their own journey.  Keep what you need and toss the rest.

Peace and Blessings

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Writing is Home

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I feel like I’ve been gone so long.  Every year I take a mini hiatus.  Not because I am resting but rather I am working, creating or transitioning in some other way that takes me away from my first love. I have been sharing my spiritual journey for almost five years and it never gets old for me.  Writing is my home.  I tend to pick up where I left off.

2017 has gotten off to a great start so I am looking forward to sharing my experiences. I started by own company Jaiona’s Yoga Closet (JYC) in late 2015.

 We empower others through body awareness, breathing techniques and yoga postures to enhance their overall health and well-being.  We teach you how to create space in your life to balance your daily challenges and align with your higher purpose, increase happiness and find inner peace.

JYC ended 2016 well and is expanding quickly as we enter the new year so I am extremely excited and proud.  I also blog about yoga and meditation on www.jaionascloset.com.  I offer classes throughout the Atlanta metro area and I’m looking forward to expanding to other cities.

As I’ve mentioned in previous post, I’ve been quitting my job for 16 years now.  I finally started the process so the talk can become a reality. I loved being an Accountant.  I will always be a CPA.  Mainly because that was one of the hardest test to pass so I refuse to allow my license to expire but I never felt it was my true calling or purpose.  So as I’ve aligned my thoughts to match my purpose, shedding pieces of the past has become my new norm.  My last day in that particular role will be end of April.  I may still dabble in that area but more in the form of trainer/mentor and sharing my insights with those who want to learn. I believe this might be the last piece to the old me but we will see.

Also, I will continue my travels probably more locally than I have in the past.  It’s time to reconnect with and find my family.  I have relatives all over the US that I haven’t seen in years.  Something internally is calling for me to return to my familial center by connecting with my extended family.  I’ve tried to create a family tree for years and have never gotten far beyond my great grandparents. I am hoping this year will bring all things full circle.  I also will be in Spain later this year so I look forward to sharing my sabbatical insights as well.  I am hoping to make it to South Africa as well but that is up in the air at the moment. It’s out in the universe so I will let it come to me.

So that’s where I’ve been, gone but not forgotten.  I am back and ready to share what the Creator has in store for me this year.

Peace and Blessings

Far East

I can go anywhere in the world and feel a cultural connection in that moment.  My sabbaticals are always reflective in nature and lead to an outpouring of spiritual revelations and writing.  Going far east was no different.  As soon as I landed I knew I would be returning in the near future quickly forgetting about the eighteen hours it took to get there.  I love my alone time.  It gives me a chance to get lost in thought and take in the sights without having to express what I am thinking or feeling.

My thoughts seemed to loop between how to expand my mindfulness practice, how to use my practice to empower others and how to use my  other spiritual gifts.  I spent a good amount of time in various asanas between tours. Simply a tool used to center myself to help bring everything in focus.  My conclusion is that I live a good life.  Minus a few mishaps, this year abundance has surrounded me in a way not seen before.  This trip reminded me there is a commonality that exist between all cultures that tie us together as human beings.  As an African American we speak freely about cultural inequalities and oppression which I can never deny their existence.  Every culture has a history, it is the resilience of the people that create change, evolution and bring about peace.  In listening to the history of China, I had to step outside of my body to understand this is what binds our experiences but it’s also not our only story.

My generation like the ones before still have a choice in the matter.  We get to write our own story.  What will time be known as? What imprints will we leave? Who will be taking a picture of my homeland hundreds of years from now?  I hope this time will be known as a time reconnecting with the source.  A time where as a culture we found our spiritual gifts and used them to grow, heal and empower each other.

Journey into the Middle East

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I recently met some close friends in Dubai. From what I’ve been told although Dubai is in the Middle East it has strong western influences which were evident by the peppering of chain restaurants and expats with foreign clothes. There are some things that stood out as time in some cases does not always trump tradition.  There is still sightings of separation in the sexes apparent by the female only or male only labels. There were a few times when none acknowledgement or response from a man was evident but I wasn’t sure if that was due to my gender or foreign status.  Yet I was very aware of the slight difference.  Not in all places but enough to have stood out in my psyche.

Overall it was a very eye opening trip.  On our ride to the safari we became aware that married men are not allowed to sit next to other women. The driver asked him to move to the front passenger seat while his wife silently sobbed beside us. When we journeyed to Abu Dhabi an hour away we were required to wear traditional head wrap and coverings to be permitted into the mosque.  It was quiet evident again that things were different.  We weren’t allowed to step into certain sections of the mosque.  But I respect honor and tradition so a part of me instinctly understood the nature of sacredness being conveyed. We spent all of our days on day long tours or treks into the city. So much so that when I returned I slept for probably 16 hours in one day.  Sleep for me is symbolic of an internal integration or a spiritual shift that occurs as a result of a long journey.  In their streets I was a damn near bald headed liberated black woman walking the streets of unspoken limitations for my gender.  I call it a balancing of the scales, being able to see both sides of the coin in one swoop.  Self realization of where you are at and how far you have come.  Another piece of my puzzle revealed.

 

Kyhir: The Little Warrior

I love you sight unseen
At least physical sight unseen
Inside me I feel you
I listen to your thoughts
They pulsate through my senses
The side of my left eye throbs as you commune with me
I laugh at your humor, smile at your presence
I know you are enroute and preparing me for your return
I hold tightly to this knowledge
Praying gently that the seeds planted into my vessel
Grow out in abundance and in alignment with the way
I ask what’s your name
You show me symbols
I wake up in the middle of the night to comb through the web to find the both the source and response to what you convey
I enjoy your presence and anticipate your arrival
Inspired in pen to describe you now and the love that both comforts and overwhelms me at once
I see you laying on my chest and I smile
I hug at the images because I know you are here in spirit watching my movements trying to decide if you made the right choice in your earthly Isis, your vagrant Lilith, your moon goddess, yaya
Your yin, ma’yor or whatever it is you refer to me as in this state
I open my arms, heart, body and soul to you
May you enter a healed womb and soul
I prepare it for your now as best way I know how
I know I’m being divinely guided
I can’t wait to meet my sun to merge him with my moon
To live in today to create a new tomorrow
I know you come to this vessel with purpose
Kyhir my little warrior, the voice in no need of human word
I love you already and patiently wait for your arrival
With loving eyes, thoughts and memories
May God bless you and show me how to guide you
I surrender you to the most high now and again when we meet
You come with a mission
Singing songs of rejoice
Playing the guitar of life the one I bought in my ignorance not knowing that I play from my heart for you
I sing to your wisdom as you perfect your own way
You give me words to Zen by
I wait for your arrival
I wait for your arrival
No wait for your arrival
Be blessed love

Year of the Horse

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I don’t always rely on logic.  For at least a year I’ve had visions of horses.  I’m not exactly sure of the connection but I’m familiar with the horse when she appears.  Some days she’s white other days she’s brown with white spots.  I let her lead me forward.  I trust her senses.
My reality is slightly different from the visions.  I found a place offering horseback riding lessons.  It’s owned by a mother and daughter team. It’s fascinating to watch these women command the respect of these thousand pound powered animal.  I love to watch them in motion from a distance.
Today was my first lesson.  I was introduced to Sky a brown and white mare with blue eyes.  Describing my initial feeling as nervous is an understatement.  For the most part we cooperated.  I say we because there was a need for me to work on my nervousness.  Horse are sensitive and react to your energy.  There is a trusting and bonding phase that must take place.  She has to trust I won’t lead her into danger.  I have to trust her intent is not to harm me.
Sky responded to my nervousness mainly by not stopping on command.  She shook her head wildly which didn’t help. It just caused me to tighten up instead of being loose.  Horses can feel the tension in your legs.  Eventually she seemed cooperative and she allowed me to lead her somewhat.  It did help that the owner was close by with a more commanding voice than my own along with reinforcement in the form of a whip.  It’s a process.  I’m sure this is leading somewhere.  There is a connection between what I’ve seen prior to now and what I’m doing at the moment.  I just can’t put my finger on it for now.