A Sister’s Siesta: Mental Rest In A Safe Place is a monthly platform for connecting women of color to discuss relevant issues in our workplaces and other settings. Every month is a different theme to tackle.
I attended my first A Sister Siesta event last night which was an open discussion on our accomplishments for 2017. I honestly didn’t know what to expect but it ended up being the most empowering two and a half hours of my year. I sat at a table with Jasmin, Certified Professional Career Coach and at least fifteen women. We were tasked with taking some time to write out our accomplishments in the following categories; professional, spiritual, physical, relational and emotional. Although at the end of the year I write out my accomplishments, it never dawned on me to break them out into these categories. However, Bianca K. Hughes, Associate Professional Counselor, and facilitator pointed out most people only focus on professional accomplishments while the other areas remain in the shadows.
As I was writing I realized I had so many first in 2017 and all of my accomplishments for this year were a direct result of having the courage to quit my job and step out on faith. My family and friends have been overwhelmingly supportive and share how proud they are of me, however, this was the first time I actually sat down to take inventory of my success. I came from an era and culture where sharing your accomplishments was seen as arrogance. As a woman, I also learned to dim my light to keep other people from feeling uncomfortable. This is an old mentality that no longer fits who I am. I want others to know that finding your path and purpose won’t allow you to stay hidden from other people. I’ve gotten into a space where I want to tell anyone who will listen and my truth has nothing to do with anyone else’s life. My truth is meant to reach, inspire and motivate those that look like me and anyone who aspires to find their happy. Our ‘happy’ might not look the same but it only takes one person, message, or thought to inspire change in someone else. If my courage and journey only help one person then my work here is done. My legacy is forever etched at this time because I had the courage to follow my spiritual promptings and walk out into the unknown.
So when the facilitators asked who wanted to share their accomplishments I damn near stood up and pushed the table over. I was that excited and I wanted to be heard. In my head, this task was all about me. I’ve gone from hardly sharing anything to wanting to authentically sharing everything. That alone is an accomplishment. Below is a partial list of what I shared with this group.
- Actively practiced walking on blind faith and pushed through my fears in 2017
- Increased self care regimen and feel more rested.
- Gained insight on areas I still need to heal especially as it relates to my immediate family
- Allowed my family and friends to support me, previously I was very private and wouldn’t ask for anything. Now I chose to share my journey with them. I choose to be open to them supporting me spiritually, mentally, emotionally and financially.
- Connected more and for longer periods of time with family and friends
- Reconnected with someone from the past. I am open and available for love. I am able to verbalize what I want and need and this person has been open to meeting me where I am.
So 2017 has truly been a good year for me. Last weekend I was up writing my vision for 2018 and I got so elated about the possibilities. Everyone must attend an empowerment event like A Sister’s Siesta, it might change how you view who you are.
Peace and Blessings
Recently I have been in contact with someone from the distant past. Some things have surfaced as a reminder to remain consciously curious and vigilant about not allowing past experiences to take the fun out of getting to know someone. Experience has taught me to initially keep my guard up and look for a motive. As I observe my interaction with this person, my normal response seems to be nonexistent as if the guards have somehow gone on lunch break. I find myself tilting my head to the side with conscious curiosity as I try to figure that one out. Conscious curiosity means I slow down long enough to observe my own words, thoughts, and interactions in each situation.
Spirituality has taught me
- There is no such thing as coincidence. People appear for a reason, a season or lifetime. I do believe there is a storyline (purpose) that we agreed to prior to coming here. I also believe part of the journey is discovering or reconnecting with that purpose. The people who appear can either take you closer or further away from your purpose and it’s up to us to stay attuned to who is who. It is up to us to ask the question, what am I supposed to learn from this person? I don’t think everyone you meet you are supposed to continue with. I can call to memory at least one lesson from every major relationship I’ve had with other people.
- Change only comes from awareness. It’s hard to change what you don’t know exist. For years I walked around in a cloud, a protective cloud of ignorance. It was the best thing for me at the time. Some days I wish I could go back to my blissful ignorance, but you can’t make yourself unconscious. You can ignore your conscious, but I’ve learned it only creates conflict that shows up as stress and sleepless nights. I know there are patterns I have repeated and roles in relationships that I have agreed to with my silence. While I have no regrets, I also know that it’s now my responsibility to make different choices in relationships. I have this 60-day rule. The guardian’s post. Where I don’t let an inch of my guard down until I can gauge your intention. Once I know it, even if I don’t like it I know how to handle the situation. I know what category to place the individual in. I never really named them before but I’ll label them as follows; potential, friend zone and not an option. About 80% end up in ‘not an option’. 19% in the ‘friend zone’ and a small 1% end up in ‘potential’. That means if I meet 100 people only 1 I will consider true potential. On occasion, friend zone occupants can make a leap to potential but sometimes the conversion is rocky. The catch is friend zoned is a necessary evil. It’s rare that upon first introductions you go to the top-tier. Some see friend zone as the death zone but that’s not always the case with me. ‘Friend zone’ is where I go to make an assessment of your character and true potential.
- Experience stifles possibility. Sometimes our experiences can leave such a negative imprint that we vow to never repeat. The only catch to that is, it requires us to block all potential. People can show up with really no agenda other than to love you completely. However, pain from the past or an attachment to the possibility of pain can stand in the way. We stop allowing the impossible to be possible. If I can’t authentically communicate what I need, then I run the risk of never allowing another to step up to meet the need. When I can’t authentically be myself, it’s hard for me to stay engaged with another because I’m always hiding a part of myself. This is where prayer and meditation have been my ally. Conscious curiosity has become my state of mind.
The last six months I’ve seen glimpses of past experiences as well as the potential for the future. Some experiences were definite deal breakers while others opened my eyes to new possibilities. I trust that my sacred prayers are being received by the universe and each experience is my confirmation.
Peace and Blessings
We do not achieve self control through the suppression of our emotions, but by being mindful of them and taking seriously the information they convey.. This inner space allows us the wisdom to act upon feelings conducive to our well being and not act upon those harmful to it. The feeling that ultimately comes to occupy this space is a deep and abiding peace. Such peace is the emotional reward of a spiritual life – Thomas Schenk
Emotions are friendly messages from your inner world. During a conversation I became extremely emotional about feeling burdened by family ties. The burden of unwanted expectations and manipulation. It’s almost like I reverted back to an old thought process of ‘if I am taking care of everyone’s else’s needs, who is going to take care of me’. My anger felt fueled by another’s attempt to get me to see it another way but instead of compassion I felt more anger. I felt a need to defend my stance to make clear that nobody’s opinion would sway my own.
To feel bound by the expectations of another is not always easy to shake especially when you are being constantly reminded of it. My response to it is my line in the sand. It creates a boundary that makes it clear where I stand. It provides clarity and consistency. A softer response doesn’t get the same reaction as a passionate hell no. A softer response equates to death to self. Often we are taught to sacrifice who we are for the unhealthy codependent needs of another. There is nothing spiritually, mentally or socially healthy or acceptable about these demands. The demands of others often cut off your freedom and impact your health.
Emotional responses are often associated with negativity or seen as a sign of weakness so we learn to suppress our feelings. On the surface the problem looks resolved but internally we create the pathway to imbalances in the physical body. Those imbalances impact the immune system and can make you vulnerable to diseases. Suppression creates stress that will eventually trigger a need for a physical release from the body. Suppression also often cuts off our communication and connection with others. For me it means putting distance between myself and whomever I no longer feel is a safe outlet. It is not blind agreement that I seek but rather compassion and understanding for what I feel. Spiritual consciousness and emotional intelligence means I have the right to feel how I feel. Even if my response isn’t agreed with.
Suppressing emotions may be a socially-approved…but it may cause negative things to happen that can affect your mental and physical health
Past experiences become a double edge sword even for the spiritually adept. Spiritual freedom allows you to live in the moment yet there is an unconscious part of you always ready to respond to the present moment with past emotions. It takes much practice to stay in the present moment. It takes practice to remember that your current freedom isn’t at risk. Some wounds are harder to heal than others. Awareness and reflection are a part of the healing process.
When faced with an uncomfortable emotional response instead of trying to resolve it, just allow it to happen with no attachment to the outcome. Some family dynamics are hard to explain.
I am not a Buddhist but I believe in some Buddhist principles.
I am not a Hindi but I believe in some Hindi principles.
I am not a Christian but I believe in some Christian principles.
I am not Muslim but I believe in some Muslim principles.
We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. JONATHAN SWIFT, Thoughts on Various Subjects from Miscellanies
Love is my religion. I believe in a higher power that goes by many names. My religion of love has many faces and messengers. A few years ago, I researched the differences between the major world religions and concluded that the essence of the message is the same. Each religion promotes its ideology in a context that’s understandable for their culture. After my research, there was no need to judge which one was better. I allowed myself to accept and respect all religions. My acceptance and respect are not in contradiction to my own belief system, it actually expanded my perception of who I was and how I fit in the world. My only choice was to make love my religion. Love is a universal concept that’s bigger than my individual beliefs. Love expands my heart so that I can accept who stands before me.
Now more than ever we are being asked to exam our belief system. The time has come to eliminate the ideology that keeps the world separated and stagnated. I don’t have to recap current events for this statement to resonate with others. The only solution is a shift from divisiveness to loving unity. In truth divisiveness is a distraction, it has always been a distraction from authenticity. Love does not diminish it actually lights the path to finding your place in the world.
Never be angry with your neighbor because his religious views differ from your own; for all the branches of a tree to not lean the same way. WILLIAM SCOTT DOWNEY, Proverbs
I had the experience this past weekend of being judged by the symbols I surround myself with. I had a booth at an event in North Carolina. This was my first time in the city and I received an overall positive reception. However, I was also shocked by the response to a Buddha statue head that I displayed in my space. My intention is always to display peace and enlightenment. In a world with so much noise, I want others to experience love and peace in my presence and in my sacred space. A couple of people openly voiced their hesitation in approaching me because of the Buddha statue. When I was allowed to respond, I shared what this symbol represented for me. These teachable moments are what inspire me to keep showing up as my authentic self. Perception is based on either personal experience or lack of exposure. As I continue to walk in love, I allow myself to be used as a vessel to change perceptions. I accept my mission. I am a spiritual being having a human experience and love is my religion.
Peace and Blessings
The people I’ve met over the last six months have been very colorful. Not in terms of their outward appearance but rather in terms of their experiences, exposure, and vibration. As I continue to evolve so does the caliber of beings who cross my path. One such being graced my Reiki table a few weeks ago. She entered my space with an honest skepticism. She explained how she kept feeling drawn to me. She had already done research and hoped the Reiki session could potentially clear up some things in her life. In her search, she felt drawn to me several times until she finally decided to call. Her intuition brought her to my doorsteps and she felt she had made the right choice.
I shared my background with her allowing her to become comfortable with who I was. She was rightfully adamant about who she was allowed to touch her energy. I explained how during the sessions I get spiritual insight and if she was open I would share it with her at the end. She was open to the feedback so we proceeded.
In Reiki, I start at the top of the head and move from chakra to chakra until I reach the feet. Chakras are subtle energy centers that surround the body. When I got to the third chakra, I started to feel a young kid in her energy field. It was a jovial little girl who appeared to be laughing and playing. She kept swinging her head from side to side. I felt an abundance of love and happiness as she danced around the room. At the end of the session I mentioned the little girl to my surprise she immediately lit up. I said you have a baby coming soon and it’s a little girl. She said she already knew what she would name her and everyone in her family already knew the name. I immediately felt a similarity in our paths. We spent the next hour exchanging stories about our lives and spiritual experiences. When she left I felt a sense of happiness. It reaffirmed that I was truly walking in my purpose and having an impact on the lives of others. It is my belief that no coincidences exist. We are always exactly where we need to be when we need to be there.
Peace and Blessings
I am a spiritual being having a human experience.