Water, Rest, and Movement…A Check In!!!

From Unsplash

Hello beautiful people and welcome to your weekly dose of Celestial Goodness. As always, thank you for joining me in this space and on this journey. So, we were going to wrap up our conversation on the Crown Chakra, but my spirit led me in a different direction for this week. See this week’s video here: https://youtu.be/kIxX1fyw0h4

I actually wanted to check in with everyone and just see how you all were doing. Are you resting, hydrating, and moving your body? Are you engaging in self-care? It might not seem like these simple things matter, but they do—they matter a lot. Sometimes I do think that life is actually trying to remind us that the simple things can often bring about the most profound blessings into our lives.

From Canva

Many moons ago now, I wrote blog posts and videos on the topics that I just mentioned: The importance of sleep, the importance of hydration, and the importance of moving our bodies. I wanted to make sure that I was also practicing what I preach, so here is a mini report on rest, hydration, and movement, probably not in that order. 

Rest:

Since working mostly from home for the past year, one of the biggest chunks of my day actually got removed—and that was the commute. Now, instead of riding the metro for about an hour each way, or driving into DC (driving time varied based on traffic conditions), I have basically been able to get up, clean up, have some breakfast, and then commute by walking to my desk. I thought initially that being home more would also mean more rest, but then I found that pandemic fatigue was a real thing. That and it also felt like I was doing more work at home. The ease of having the computer right there, meant that it is not difficult to check email, or to finish one last thing. But the buffer between commuting and work, also meant that I felt a loosening of my work/life boundaries. I also noticed that my sleep patterns felt off, even though I wasn’t doing much, and really time itself seemed to have lost some meaning.

From Unsplash

Since doing my research on rest, and sleep, I have definitely tried to get more rest in the nights. I try to follow my circadian rhythm, and rest when I feel tired, if possible. If not, then I try to get to bed at a reasonable hour. What I have found is that my body wakes up pretty early on its own accord, and generally feels more rested than not. I have also tried to create a routine for myself logging in to work at around the same time each weekday to create a sense of consistency. I have also tried to take downtime for rest, and to allow my own creative projects to flourish. I noticed benefits from this including feeling more refreshed, less groggy, and able to have more energy to do some of my own things. Have you been resting? If you would like to see some benefits of resting and of sleep—please check out my video here: https://youtu.be/r_WrMm4Ygr4

Movement:

With regards to movement, for the past 39 weeks, I have kept a record of walks that I take during the week. Things like weather, events, travel, and even honestly just needing a nap more than the walk, have impacted dates and times, but for the most part, I have been able to walk at least 4 times per week. I set a goal for myself of 3 miles per day, and so my weekly goal is 12-15 miles. Sometimes on the weekends I will take a longer walk of about 5 miles. I will push myself to do my 3 miles, but anything over that really feels like a plus. I don’t overdo it because I have hurt myself before, and recovery takes time. It just feels good to give myself the gift of physical movement.

There have been multiple benefits from walking for me. First, I feel stronger. When I first started my walks, I had been in pandemic world for a few months, eating delicious things that I had been learning how to make from the Food channel, and epicurious, but I hadn’t really been moving. I could feel it more in my clothes, and then I started to feel more sluggish. Walking, helps me to feel more energetic. Second, I get to spend some time in nature. That means grounding, and earthing. By taking a walk, I have some designated time when I am not connected to everything else that is going on in the world. My brain gets a break, and I find some peace in my day.

Third, I truly feel that by observing nature, that there are more things that make sense for me. For example, I have talked about the seasons that we go through in our individual lives. That’s no accident. In nature, everything gets done—things grow when they are supposed to without rush. In nature, we also witness the power of sunshine, water (rain), rest, and growth. Walking has genuinely put me in a better mood, and I am thankful for the opportunity to spend that time outside. Check out my video on movement and drinking water: https://youtu.be/vnfBpT0AQmQ

You can also check out my video on disconnecting and decompressing: https://youtu.be/Nv7DwmYntp4

And my video on Earthing and Grounding: https://youtu.be/01RUU0L_2Qk

Water: 

The journey to better hydration has probably been my most challenging, but also my most rewarding journey. Out of the last 37 days, I have completed 35 days of drinking 1 gallon (128 oz) of water. Prior to this, I had started feeling really brittle within myself. My bones and joints felt achy, and I knew instinctively that I probably needed more water. Since I had also done research on the benefits of water, I also knew that if I increased my intake, my body would be thankful! I did some research on water bottles, and found one that I liked on Amazon.

The Fidus water bottle in a beautiful shade of blue green and pinkish purple. It also had motivational quotes that started at 7am and went until 9pm. Sort of cynically, I said, who is drinking water from 7am – 9pm? As it turns out, me. There is something about seeing the bottle that made me feel like I should be drinking it. The result of my month of water are that:

a)     I definitely FEEL hydrated. My joints and body as a whole feel better and more fluid.

b)    I think my skin also looks better, and more glowy.

c)     Water is definitely a detoxing agent. If you want your kidneys and intestines to thank you, drink water. As a matter of fact, I think all of you will feel better!

d)    Yes, you do have to go to the bathroom a lot initially, but as time progress, I think my body got used to the amount of water it could hold without constantly running back and forth.

e)    I think it has been helping me to sleep better. 

f)      I feel more energized.

g) I snack less, because when drinking that much water, there is no time to be doing anything else. LOL

h)    Drinking water begats drinking more water. Probably the most surprising thing has been that even after drinking a gallon of water, I still feel that I could drink more. 

I think if you want to get more water in your body, my suggestions are:

a)     Just start!!! Just start drinking a glass or two more, and work your way up

b)    If you don’t like the taste of water (and I know this is a thing), maybe add fresh fruit to help you with the taste

c)     Schedule your day around this. I know that if I was commuting, I wouldn’t be able to drink my water consistently through the day—what it means is that I would break it down into time clumps. Morning, Afternoon, and Evening, with enough time to get home. As it stands, I schedule my water around my walks. If I know I will walk at 6:30pm, I might stop drinking water at 5. When I return from my walk, I want to drink more water.  

Another thing that I learned from a very wise woman recently, was that I should work with my water. Right now, I have just been drinking it to keep me hydrated, but I haven’t thanked the water for all the amazing things that it has been doing for my body. With this in mind, today as I held my water bottle, I asked the water to work with me. As I took my first sips, I let myself feel the water flowing through my body and I thanked it for purification, cleansing, healing, and love.

This wise woman also said, What does the world need to be carried from you by the water? When I think of that, I think—what toxins need to be removed so that I have the energy to use my gifts in the ways that are most of service to the world, and also to my own dreams and goals? This has profoundly changed my experience with water and my hydration process.

I hope that you are resting well, moving your body as you have the capability to do, and also hydrating. These are simple things—are the foundational level of our lives. We need air, we need water, we need the earth, and we need the inner and outer fire to sustain us, nurture us, and to help us give back to the earth and its people. May the stars shine brightly over your week, and may you be hydrated, rested, and energized.

Renewal and Rebirth

Hello beautiful people and welcome to your weekly dose of Celestial Goodness. As always, thank you for joining me in this space and on this journey. This week, we were supposed to continue our discussion of the chakras, but it felt as though life was talking to me, and there was a different topic that yearned to be discussed. Each time that I tried to put pen to paper for chakra stuff, something else kept coming up. I believe in listening to my intuitive voice, so, we will wrap up the chakras soon! In the meantime, see this as a conversation about the cycles of nature, rebirth, spring, resurrection, and renewal as it pertains to us individually. That’s a mouthful, but it is all important. See this week’s video here: https://youtu.be/ICIX105S4gk

Just a few weeks ago we had the Vernal Equinox and the beginning of Spring. This last week for some has been Passover week, and for some it is Easter Week. When I was growing up in Jamaica, Easter Week or Holy Week was considered to be one of the most important times of the year. As a child, you often don’t realize the deeper meanings behind celebrations, and symbolism. For me, the excitement was in dressing up, and in eating yummy meals. It’s sort of how I read fairytales, folktales, and mythology as a child versus how I read them now with a new eye.

For example, I see the story of Persephone, the tale that explains the eternal cycle of Nature’s death and rebirth, also as a story of Persephone transitioning into womanhood, and into her role as both Queen of the Underworld, and as the symbol of the coming Spring.

It is the story of Isis and Osiris—another story of death, and rebirth, but also the way in which love helps us remember our true selves—it is the way in which Isis put the pieces of Osiris back together to help him remember who he was.

Intrinsic in our daily lives, are constant cycles of death and rebirth. Themes of crucifixion, resurrection, rebirth, and renewal are heavy during this time of year. In the same way, that these stories have lessons to teach us, this time of year—springtime, is replete with important reminders that we can apply to our own lives.

I consider myself as someone who loves nature, who loves to observe the cycles of nature, and then tries to live in harmony with that. “Tries” is the operative word, *chuckles*, but I do I find that a lot of the answers to some of my deepest questions come from observing nature, and being reminded of its eternal wisdom. Rainer Maria Rilke said, “If you will stay close to nature, to its simplicity, to the small things hardly noticeable, those things can unexpectedly become great and immeasurable.” 

Sometimes, I forget that, but life will always remind us that there is a flow and that we are part of something greater than ourselves. When we are in the flow, life just feel better and we are free to live more authentically. Maya Angelou said, “A woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing. She goes where she will without pretense and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself and only herself.” I do believe that most of us are trying to live a harmonious life, but that does not mean that there won’t be challenging moments.

These moments are our personal crucifixions, and each one presents an opportunity for personal renewal, resurrection, and rebirth. With each of these moments we gain wisdom, and we can choose how to apply it the next time something comes up, as something inevitably will in the spiraling dance of life. As each lesson comes, we have opportunities to ascend in wisdom and love.

This also means that if we want to be in the flow, we have to recognize the things that serve to take us out of that state.

Do you know what are the things that trigger you into coming out of your flow? Can you recognize in your own life, people or situations that represent your own personal crucifixion? You feel as if they sort of torment your soul it feels like? You may have just thought of something or someone, so before we move on, we will recenter ourselves.

Wherever you are, and whenever you are either reading this or watching my video, I just want you to take in a deep breath. I want you to hold it for three seconds. As you breathe out and exhale, I want you to imagine yourself releasing the stresses of the past week. If there is anyone or anything that has caused you grief of some sort, exhale that too.

I don’t know how your week was, but this was definitely a strange week for me. I felt as though I went through every emotion under the sun. There were challenging moments, things that truly upset me, and things that made me cry and feel sad for the state of the world. I felt the tension in my body. I know where I hold stress, and I am still learning how to release that to remain in harmony with myself. Alternatively, during the past week I also felt hope and love. I found things to look forward to. I laughed at certain things during conversations with loved ones, and I also made attempts to truly rest and decompress. I know that for me, when I do not rest, I tend to be crankier, and more inclined to give into feelings of doubt and fear.

The things that you do to take care of yourself when you feel hostile cycles emerge in your life, are part of what brings you back to yourself—these are the tools that aid in your cyclical rebirth and renewal. When you do work to heal yourself and to renew yourself, you are also helping to heal and renew the world. That is love. That is part of the service that you offer to the world. Marianne Williamson said, “Love, when it is a sacred quest, is a space of resurrection and repair. It does more than help us survive a soulless world; it helps us to transform.” When we transform, so does the world around us. The Tao Te Ching says, “Cultivated in your soul, the Tao brings peace to your life. Cultivated in your home, it brings peace with those you love. Spreading to friends and neighbors, it brings peace to your community.”

I may have spoken before about the poem Desiderata by Max Ehrmann; it has always served to calm my soul when I find myself out of alignment. If you have never read this poem, it is one for the self-care tool box.

“Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.” I just love that. 

I also have a set of books that are my go to books for when I need good reminders to stay centered. One book, “The Tao of Inner Peace,” by Diane Dreher, was given to me by someone that I truly respect and admire, and it is filled with an abundance of wisdom, especially in trying times.

Not only did I revisit this book this week, but I sat with the words, and thought about them on my walks. The Tao Te Ching says, “A plant that grows deep in the earth cannot be uprooted. Hold fast to the Tao and nothing will defeat you,” and “To keep your center is to endure.” There are days where you will feel defeated. The author reminds us that “our thoughts, our attitudes, [and] our emotions are all forms of energy, that are constantly influencing the world around us…Not only do we influence people around us; we are continuously affected by the actions and attitudes of others. Spending time with other people means breathing the same air, sharing the same energy field. Some interactions are energizing. Others deplete us.” We must recognize the things and people that drain our energy, and the ones that energize us. We can be an energizing force as well, and put good energy out into the world. When we are renewed and revitalized, we are in the best position to do this.

This book also reminded me that “centered, Tao people do not become hostile, fearful, or angry when confronting negative events.” Instead, as Lao Tzu instructed, sometimes you need to do nothing; step back, and watch the cycles. This is the principle of non-resistance. I also think about this in the context of our personal resurrection from something that has happened in our life. When we are centered within ourselves, we are like a tree in a storm. We are able to stay rooted, even as we bend with the wind to meet current circumstances.

There were a few things this week that caused me to feel anger, fear, and sadness. These emotions are also valid, but when we react to something with these same energies, we can also cause more harm than good. Once we process them, and allow ourselves to approach things from places of love, wisdom, and harmony, we can transcend a lot. The Tao also tells us, “the wisest person trusts the process, without seeking to control;”

In another of the books that I keep close, “A Return to Love, Reflections on A Course in Miracles,” Marianne Williamson talks about a three day period to process things.

“Truth will always reassert itself, given a symbolic three days. Three days represents the time it takes between the crucifixion and the resurrection, between an open-hearted response to hurt and the experience of rebirth that will always follow… Think of the mystical three days between the crucifixion and the resurrection as the time it takes for a situation to change, once spirit has infused our consciousness. As we come to look at an experience differently, in time it begins to transform.” Sometimes, we need to give ourself time for our own personal renewal, and for us to transcend certain situations. One way to transcend hostile situations is by first releasing the tension within ourselves. The next thing is then to take positive action. The Tao of Inner Peace says that this positive action doesn’t even need to be directed at the problem, but it becomes important to, “affirm your faith in life and set new healing energies into motion.” Is there something that you can do that brings a better sort of energy into your world? Is there something that you can do for yourself to bring you into a better space, and to look at things from a more clear and grounded perspective? For me, I take a walk, preferably to the river.

Inevitably, there are things in life that are going to make us feel uncentered, and that will threaten our personal peace, and try to throw us off of our flow. In these times, it is important to remember that life happens more cyclically than linear. In the times of our own personal crucifixions, we can rest in the knowing that this too shall pass. We can know that we will have our period of rest, resurrection, and rebirth. As I take my daily walks, I see it in the seasons.

Right now, the plants are bursting into bloom. A few weeks ago, the branches were bare, the land was slowly emerging from winter. Now, we see trees filling in, and greenery as far as our eyes can see. Our lives work in this way. “Whatever can be threatened, whatever can be shaken, whatever you fear cannot stand, is destined to crash. Do not go down with the ship. Let that which is destined to become the past slip away. Believe that the real you is that which beckons from the future. If it is a sadder you, it will be a wiser one. And dawn will follow the darkness sooner or later. Rebirth can never come without death.” ~ Robert Price.

On some days, there might be something that represents for you a crucifixion and the death of something, but whenever something dies—figuratively, something else is being reborn. What are you doing in your life to support your renewal, resurrection, and rebirth? “A man with outward courage dares to die, a man with inward courage dares to live.” Be courageous on the inside and out.

I hope that your moments of grief, anger, despair, and sadness will be minimal, and that your happiness, joy, love, laughter, and the things that you hold sacred will be infinite. Ultimately, as the saying goes, “Don’t take life too seriously. You’ll never get out of it alive.” May the stars shine brightly over your week, and may it be one in which you feel renewed and wise. Thank you.

Intuition, Wisdom, Good Judgment, and the Third Eye Chakra

Hello beautiful people and welcome to your weekly dose of Celestial Goodness. As always, thank you for joining me in this space and on this journey. We are almost at the end of our journey through the chakras. In our last conversation on this topic, we talked about the throat chakra, the first of the higher chakras. Now we move on to what is known as the Ajna, or the Third Eye Chakra. See this week’s video here: https://youtu.be/ifeyZCcBMF8

Have you ever just had a feeling about something? Maybe it was so strong that you simply could not ignore it. Later you realized that it saved you from something—an accident or something more. Or have you ever thought about someone—maybe you hadn’t spoken to them in a while, and then they called you? This is the power of intuition, and it is the power of the third eye.

In Paulo Coelho’s book, “Valkyries,” he tells the story of a young man who was saved from a bad accident by his intuition, and a delay. Whenever he is being held up or delayed, he thanks his angel for whatever they are trying to do, and relaxes into a place of patience. Whenever I am listening to my intuitive voice, I express gratitude for whatever life is either trying to expel from my life, or bring into my life.

There are so many things that could be said about the third eye chakra, and so many directions that we could take. This is definitely one that I highly encourage doing more research, and figuring out what works best for you. I want to approach this chakra from a place of showing how it has manifested in my life as a reminder of the power of intuition and the wisdom that comes with life experience. Life is truly to be lived, and in the process of living, we will have a variety of experiences. Some of these experiences will be good, and some we might perceive as not good (hindsight might show otherwise in some cases), but they will all teach us something. They will soak into the very fiber of our being, rest in our souls and say, no you burned yourself there before, don’t touch it again, or they will say, yes that is a path that you can trust.

In another book of his that I love, “Warrior of Light,” Paulo Coelho says, “The warrior of light knows the importance of intuition. In the midst of battle, he does not have time to think of the enemy’s blows, and so he uses his instinct and obeys his angel. People say, He’s mad. Or, He lives in a fantasy world. Or even, How can he possibly believe in such illogical things? But the warrior knows that intuition is God’s alphabet and he continues listening to the wind and talking to the stars.” Listening to the wind and talking to the stars have never led me astray.

The type of knowing and wisdom associated with the third eye chakra really comes from having experiences. The very dictionary definition of wisdom is, “the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment.” Another definition says, “the soundness of an action or decision with regard to the application of experience, knowledge, and good judgment.” 

We live in a world that generally praises good judgment, but have you ever wondered what are the elements of good judgment? An article from the Harvard Business Review called “The Elements of Good Judgment” by Sir Andrew Likierman quoted authors Noel Tichy and Warren Benis who wrote, “Judgment: How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls.” They said, “judgment is the ability to combine personal qualities with relevant knowledge and experience to form opinions and make decisions,” this is “the core of exemplary leadership…it is what enables a sound choice in the absence of clear-cut, relevant data, or an obvious path.” After numerous discussions with many different kinds of leaders, Likierman stated that good judgment has six components. “Learning, trust, experience, detachment, options, and delivery.”

He mentioned that leaders with good judgment tend to be good listeners and good readers (cue the throat chakra). They trust. They seek diversity and not validation (Cue the sacral and solar plexus chakras). These leaders draw on the skills and experiences of others as well as their own. These leaders had people around them who tell them what they need to know more rather than what they want to hear. In looking at their experience, good leaders assess how well they draw on their own experiences to make decision. They see where things went well and where it did not go well, so that they might make a different decision in the future on things that did not go well. They also worked to expand their experience and gain more exposure. Another factor was that they were able to detach both intellectually and emotionally, while also addressing their own biases. They also create options, and are not afraid to consider radical options. And finally, they factor in the feasibility of execution. They know the risks, and have a good sense of who can deliver. I don’t think these qualities are limited to the traditional notion of leaders in let’s say a business sense. I think these are factors that we all can also employ in our own lives. This is where the Ajna or the third eye comes in.

Embedded in this conversation, is also a larger conversation about trust, intuition, and essentially the sixth sense that we all have. Dean Koontz said, “Intuition is seeing with the soul.” I have found in my own life that it is imperative that I learn how to acknowledge the difference between fear and my gut warning me about something, and to learn how to develop a relationship with my intuition and to trust it. Sometimes we have to see with the soul. There have been times when I noticed red flags about either a person or a situation, I could feel it in my body, and I could tell from all the signs that I was getting, but yet, I did not listen. These are the times in my life when I have felt the most pain. Sometimes we wander into an illusion, and we want things to be one way so we refuse to see it as anything but that. The third eye wants us to see beyond illusion and fantasy.

In his book, “The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals that Protect us from Violence,” Gavin de Becker said, “Intuition is always right in at least two important ways; it is always in response to something [and] it always has your best interest at heart.” We generally experience the world through our five senses, but I do think that intuition and just that sense of knowing is an important sixth sense, and one that is deserving of our full attention. 

Clarissa Pinkola Estes said, “Practice listening to your intuition, your inner voice; ask questions, be curious, see what you see, hear what you hear, and then act upon what you know to be true. These intuitive powers were given to your soul at birth.”

So it would seem that since birth, we have “known.” The question is whether we will snuff out our ability to hear what our soul is trying to tell us. Like most things, developing a relationship with our inner knowing and our intuition requires practice. If we don’t use it, we can lose the ability to discern what our gut is telling us. 

The word “Ajna” actually means “to perceive,” “to know,” and “to control.” The sixth chakra or the “third eye” chakra is also called the “brow chakra” because of its location in the center of the forehead between the eyebrows. There is also an association with the pineal gland, the small endocrine gland which produces melatonin and regulates the circadian cycles. Renee Descartes called it the “seat of the soul.” You may have noticed that in Hinduism, vermillion is applied as to make a bindi that shows reverence for this chakra. It is also said to represent the subconscious mind, and while our other two eyes see the physical world, the third eye can reveal insights about the past and the future. Liz Simpson says that, “the non-physical nature of this charka is represented by Light. In the physical sense, light hits the eyes and is translated into images. In the realm of the esoteric, intuition is like a light coming on in the brain and may be represented by an internal image. These are our eureka moments.” These are our hunches, the déjà vu feelings, the things that we just know but cannot rationalize. Albert Einstein said, “I believe in intuitions and inspirations…I sometimes FEEL that I am right. I do not KNOW that I am.”

I learned from Mr. Rishi that, the Ajna chakra governs your intuition, self-reflection, visualization, and discretion. Blockages or imbalances can cause rigidity, perfectionism, authoritarianism, arrogance, an undisciplined nature, fear of success, an indulgence in fantasy and illusion, a tendency towards schizophrenia, lack of clarity, an inability to establish a vision for themselves and their life, low expectations, and may also manifest as physical ailments such as headaches, nightmares, sinus, dizziness, and vision problems. Once the third eye is opened and balanced, the individual become more intuitive, an excellent decision maker, charismatic, highly intuitive, not attached to material things, may experience unusual phenomena, and retain an attitude of abundance. When this chakra works well we are able to see beyond distractions and illusions and cultivate the type of insight that allows us to live our best life. The third eye chakra resonates with the color purple, bluish purple, or indigo.

I believe that when this chakra is in harmony, your life is also in harmony. I think that you can maintain good boundaries with people, keep yourself out of harm’s way, and live your life from a place of love and good judgment. Joseph Kauffman said, “You are not limited to this body, to this mind, or to this reality—you are a limitless ocean of Consciousness, imbued with infinite potential. You are existence itself.” Or as Rumi would say, “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.” We must know that and be able to sense that for ourselves. 

So what are some ways to balance the Third Eye Chakra?

·      Meditation to balance the Third Eye Chakra. Mediation is a super important function of the third eye chakra. Meditation is an essential function for this chakra in particular. You may get a tingly feeling in the third eye region or a headache when meditating to open this chakra.   Each Chakra is also associated with a particular sound. The third eye chakra is associated with the sound/mantra SHAM. Meditating and chanting to SHAM for even a few minutes can be beneficial to helping balance the third eye chakra. Listening to 852Hz while meditating is also great—this frequency resonates with the third eye chakra. It helps to awaken the intuition and access hidden knowledge in the subconscious mind that we can transform into wisdom.     

· Crystal Healing. Crystals vibrate with different energies. Helpful crystals for third chakra healing work are crystals that are blue and purple in color. These include: Sodalite, Lapis Lazuli, Amethyst (the stone of spiritual perfection), Lepidolite, Ametrine, Labradorite, Kyanite, and Blue Tiger’s Eye. Carrying these close to you and placing the gemstones on the area of your third eye chakra while lying down can be very beneficial to helping with alignment.

Amethyst is one of my faves!!

·      Colors. Surround yourself with the colors purple and indigo.  Similar to the blue of the throat chakra, these colors are is among the most calming and beautiful colors. Wear purple or indigo color clothing, or add some to your décor.   

· Foods. Blue and purple foods resonate with this chakra. For example purple grapes, plums, eggplant, purple sweet potato, purple kale, and lavender infused beverages and foods. I love lavender!

On a trip to the Lavender farm!

·      Seek therapy. Therapy really helped me in this area. It helped to have someone neutral to talk to openly and honestly. As always, I will always include this, but I am aware that it can be difficult for some people, whether due to financial barriers or through other forms of access. There are resources available for low cost or virtual therapy. Here is a resource from SAMSHA:  https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/

·      Practice self -reflection. Journal and try to think of some of the things that you believe and why you believe them.

From Unsplash

·      Practice your affirmations! Here are a few: I honor and trust my intuition. I have clarity and peace of mind. I am receiving and I am trusting. I look inward and outward for wisdom. I nurture my spirit. I am connected with the wisdom of the universe. My life flows effortlessly. 

As always, I hope that this information was informative and that you can apply these in a practical manner in your life. Please let me know if anything works well for you!! Also, please feel free to drop more tips/suggestions in the comments. If you are enjoying the videos, please like, comment, share, and definitely subscribe to the channel! May the stars shine brightly over your week, and may you feel connected to the deepest wisdom and love of the universe. Thank you.

Pure Communication. Lessons from the Throat Chakra (Vishuddha)

Hello beautiful people and welcome to your weekly dose of Celestial Goodness. As always, thank you for joining me in this space and on this journey. Jumping right in this week, we are picking up where we left off on our journey through the chakras. In our last conversation on this topic, we talked about the heart chakra. The heart chakra served as a bridge between the higher and lower chakras—or between matter and spirit. Now we arrive at the fifth chakra, the throat chakra or the Vishuddha. This is the first of the higher chakras, and in my opinion, it also serves as a doorway into higher consciousness. Why is that? It is because I believe that this chakra comes with a certain level of responsibility. See this week’s video here: https://youtu.be/rzfURQ0f_c4

I also believe that when we are attuned to the throat chakra, we get to experience the world from a more wholesome and purer place. In fact, the Sanskrit word Vishuddha means “pure, especially pure, and purification.” This chakra, as my friend Mr. Rishi taught me, “governs speaking your own truth, listening and being heard, communication, and finding your true voice.” This is the place where we work on expanding our voice and our will.

Liz Simpson wrote that, “Developing the throat chakra means choosing words that bring value to communication. A further implication of Vishuddha is that only by successfully working through the lower four chakras can you reach the purification necessary to open the Throat Chakra.” This implies that there is a certain level of thought and maturity that goes into not only speaking, but also to the act of listening. Active listening is very much a part of what this chakra is about—and it is imperative that we develop this skill to allow for better communication!

I have seen reference to an acronym that is perfect for this topic. It is THINK. I could not find the original source. I got everything from Rumi to self-attributions that didn’t seem to make sense. So to whoever coined this, thank you. It says, Before you speak, THINK. You are then invited to ask the following questions about what you are about to say. T-Is it true? H-Is it helpful? I-Is it inspiring? N-Is it necessary? K-Is it kind? I think that this is a useful guide for learning how to and actually speaking our truth. This is tied into the notion that each word, each thought, and each action that emanates from us has some sort of consequence on everything and everyone around us. 

There are many many opinions on what it means to “speak your truth.” Oprah said, “What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we have.” Some people feel that people should not be encouraged to speak “their truth,” thinking that someone’s truth might not be “the truth.” I think that is why this acronym is useful. All of the letters work together. The very first letter—says is it true? Something may feel true to you, but it may not be helpful to the conversation or kind. I think that allows an opportunity to take a look at the things that we believe to be true.

That being said, I do think there are benefits to speaking your truth and finding your voice. Some of these are that you end up feeling at peace. If you have ever had something to say and didn’t speak up, it can create feelings of resentment and regret. It also helps to build your confidence and help you overcome fears that you may have in sharing your voice. What you may discover is that others feel a similar way, or you inspire someone, or you just feel more like your authentic self. That is a freeing feeling. Additionally, it has been my experience that if you don’t speak up, people won’t know what you want. I think humans have the tendency to think everyone else is a mind reader and will know from our clues and behavior what it is that we want. But life does not work that way. We have to tell people how we feel, what we need, and what we want. Brene Brown, who I love, has a quote that says, “Clear is kind.” I use this in different settings, but it really guides how I communicate with others. Am I being clear?

If you are not familiar with Brene’s work, she does a lot on vulnerability. I know—all of this work takes courage, and you have it! I know you have it. One of the quotes that I life from her says, “Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor—the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant ‘To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.’ Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences—good and bad. Speaking from our hearts is what I think of as ‘ordinary courage.’”

I imagine that this is why the heart chakra comes before the throat chakra. We had to build our courage so that we could communicate in kind, honest, and real ways. Speaking is not the only part of this, as I mentioned before. Active listening is also a very important part of pure communication. Active listening means that you are fully engaged and immersed in what the other person is saying. When you give your full attention to what someone else is saying, you are showing respect, earning trust, and hopefully listening to hear, so that another can feel heard. Some features of active listening include: asking questions to reflect back what was said, using verbal and nonverbal feedback, being patient, nonjudgmental, and asking for clarification and summarizations. In active listening you are not trying to one up the other person, drifting off with your own thoughts, ignoring what you don’t understand, rushing the speaker, or only pretending to pay attention. You are truly giving the conversation your time and energy. This is important in all relationships, and it is also important in modeling how you want to be listened to as well.

The Vishuddha or throat chakra is located in the region of the throat, jaw, neck, mouth and thyroid. More specifically is at the base of the neck in the back of the throat. It is associated with authentic expression, speaking, listening, and even creativity. When there is an imbalance or a blockage in the throat chakra you might find that you have a harder time communicating effectively, or may be overtalkative, gossipy, dogmatic, arrogant, self-righteous, unreliable, holds inconsistent views, poor listener, or fearful in speaking your personal truth. Physical ailments can include chronic sore throats, neck and shoulder pains, thyroid issues, mouth ulcers, gum disease, laryngitis, asthma, and hearing problems. 

When the throat chakra is in balance, we speak, listen, and express ourselves in our most authentic way. We are clear, kind, and inspiring. We listen well, we speak our truth in the best possible way, we are artistically inspired, have a good sense of timing, can bring our creative projects into existence, and we are also calmer and more centered. This chakra has a natural connection with the sacral chakra/the second chakra—our center of emotions and creativity.

The element associated with the throat chakra is the ether or spirit. This chakra has a major role in connecting you to spirit, and so the ability to meditate is another important benefit of a balanced throat chakra. Once you do, you are better able to align your vision with reality. 

In my own life, I have worked hard to balance this chakra. There have been many times in my life when I did not say what I wanted to say, or speak when I needed to. A lot of pain sat in this area of my world, under a façade of saying what I thought people wanted to hear thinking it would keep the peace. In reality it made a bad situation for me. I was trapped within myself, and unsure of who I was and what I wanted. This chakra requires us to speak up—both to ourselves and others. What do you want? What do you like? What do you want to create? It has required a lot of speaking up even when I have feared rejection or concern that I will be viewed in a particular way. Sometimes I have spoken up on things and my voice has been shaky, but in the end, it was something that needed to be said. I have also applied this to relationships—telling people what I need, and asking them to share what they need in return. This lets me know if I am even capable of handling what they need from me, and it reminds us both that neither of us are mind readers. I have also made an effort to truly listen—not to just respond, but to make sure that I understand what is being said to me. It has really improved my relationships, and it is still a work in progress.

So what are some ways to balance the Throat Chakra? 

· Meditation to balance the throat Chakra. Mediation is a super important function of the throat chakra. Many meditations out there can help you to concentrate healing energies to the Throat area. Each Chakra is also associated with a particular sound. The throat chakra is associated with the sound/mantra HAM. Meditating and chanting to HAM for even a few minutes can be beneficial to helping balance the throat chakra. Listening to 741 Hz while meditating is also great—this frequency resonates with the throat chakra. It helps to generate clear ideas, inspire creative thinking, clear communication, empowerment, and confidence.

· Crystal Healing. Crystals vibrate with different energies. Helpful crystals for throat chakra healing work are crystals that are blue in color. These include: Sodalite, Lapis Lazuli, Aquamarine, blue celestite, turquoise, Blue lace agate, Blue Quartz, Kyanite, Labradorite, and Chrysocolla. Carrying these close to you and placing the gemstones on the area of your throat chakra while lying down can be very beneficial to helping with alignment.

·      Colors. Surround yourself with the color blue. Blue is one of the most calming and beautiful colors. Wear blue clothing, or add some to your décor.   

· Foods. Blue and purple foods resonate with this chakra. For example blueberries, purple grapes, and blackberries are great. Additionally water and warm herbal teas are also important for throat chakra healing.

·      Sing. If you know me, you know that I am prone to bursting out in song, even though I don’t have a singing voice. Speaking, singing, reading poetry aloud and using that part of your body is helpful!

·      Neck and shoulder stretches and massages are also helpful to this chakra.  

·      Seek therapy. Therapy really helped me in this area. It helped to have someone neutral to talk to openly and honestly. As always, I will always include this, but I am aware that it can be difficult for some people, whether due to financial barriers or through other forms of access. There are resources available for low cost or virtual therapy. Here is a resource from SAMSHA:  https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/

· Connect with the ether or spirit element. Check out my previous video/blog on the element of spirit. https://youtu.be/MTMhXJibSro

· Practice your affirmations! Here are a few: What I have to say is worthy of being heard. My voice is becoming stronger. I speak my truth freely and openly. I hear and speak the truth. I express myself clearly. I love to share my experiences and wisdom, and I know when it is time to listen. I listen to my body and my feelings to know what my truth is. I live in my truth, I communicate my truth, I am the truth.

You are worthy of being heard! 🙂

As always, I hope that this information was informative and that you can apply these in a practical manner in your life. Please let me know if anything works well for you!! Also, please feel free to drop more tips/suggestions in the comments. May the stars shine brightly over your week, and may you feel safe and free to communicate in your most authentic way. Thank you.

The Wisdom that We Learn from our Elders

Artist, Yermo


Hello beautiful people, and welcome to your weekly dose of Celestial Goodness. As always, thank you for joining me in this space and on this journey. So, I had every intention of discussing the Throat Chakra this week. I love the Throat Chakra, and love encouraging others to speak their truth because there are major benefits to doing this, but then a few things came to mind. See this week’s video here: https://youtu.be/3Um4i7meGTo

One year of reflection…

First, I want you to check in with yourself…just breath and be present here right now. For a lot of people, this week meant reflecting on a year since most things got shut down for the coronavirus. Our lives have changed in ways that we really could not have fathomed. We have come face to face with ourselves, with grief, with death, and with the notion that life can change suddenly. Within all of that there has also been moments of love, gratitude, understanding, breakthrough, and joy. Whatever this past year has been for you, I am thankful that you are here—reading or watching, and feeling hopeful for a new day. I maintain that this too shall pass, and that after the darkness of a long night, that dawn will always come. I feel the dawn coming, each day, I feel more hopeful. I have learned a lot during this time, and it has really inspired me to truly live an intentional and purposeful life, and to make each moment worth it—doing the things that I love, with the people that I love. Whatever you have gone through, whether good or not so great—I send you lots of love.

The second thing is that I got totally caught up on a topic that came to mind after watching an interesting movie. The movie, “I Care A Lot,” is on Netflix.

And when I say “interesting,” please know that I am still trying to process what I watched—was the writing brilliant in that it highlights something that I feel we need to address as a society—that is how we treat the elderly? Or is it that the writing was not that great, and the whole movie was carried along by the performances of Rosamund Pike and Peter Dinklage? If you have seen this movie, please drop a comment in the comment box and let me know your thoughts.

Without spoiling the movie for you, the basic premise is that the main character, Marla Grayson is the head of Grayson’s Guardianships. She makes her living by convincing the legal system to grant her guardianship over elderly people who she pretends cannot take care of themselves. Note she does not work alone—she has connections with people in both the care home field, and the medical profession. It also seems to me that she has found a loop hole in the system as it pertains to elder care, and she exploits it to the fullest basically fueled by her desire to be really rich. Once she has the power of the courts on her side, she shows up to the home of her prey and has them placed in assisted living facilities or nursing homes where they lose contact with the outside world. Once they are essentially out of the way, she sells their home and assets, and then pays herself from the proceeds. It is all very nefarious in my book, and I watched some of the movie seething at the way I saw her taking advantage of the elderly. The crux of the movie comes when she gets wind of “Jennifer Peterson,” a seemingly perfect potential ward for her—Jennifer is very wealthy, and by all accounts has no family. Let’s just say that things got very interesting from that point. 

I think that most people watching the movie wonder if this is something that can even happen. Can someone just show up at your home and say that it was determined by the state that you are no longer capable of taking care of yourself so they have now assigned you a guardian? Can someone who is a complete stranger be assigned to make your decisions? What happens if they are supposed to have your best interests in mind but it seems like maybe they don’t? Unfortunately, many states had loopholes that made it possible for guardianship scams to happen. In 2017, the New Yorker wrote an article called, “How the Elderly Lose Their Rights.” https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/10/09/how-the-elderly-lose-their-rights

One point of note was that many states have actually worked to reform guardianships because there had been a rise in guardianship scams. 

What is guardianship anyway? I should clarify that as well!

According to Justia, “Guardianship is a legal process used to protect individuals who are unable to care for their own well-being due to infancy, incapacity, or disability. A court will appoint a legal guardian to care for an individual, known as a ward, who is in need of special protection. Legal guardians have the legal authority to make decisions for their wards and present their wards personal and financial interests.” This largely functions state by state. 

Sara Luterman wrote an article for the Nation in which she called for the abolition of guardianships. Most people have heard of guardianship because of pop culture, and recent issues with Britney Spears and her dad. Luterman said, “Guardianship is built on the patronizing assumption that people with certain disabilities are incapable of being full citizens and need a nondisabled person to act as their proxy in all things… According to AARP, about 1.3 million Americans are currently under guardianship. It is hard to say exactly how many because the record-keeping is poor and there are no national standards or federal oversight. As a system, guardianship relies on the assumption that guardians are benevolent and always want the best for their wards. And this is probably true for most guardians: They want to protect their elderly parents or disabled children from financial exploitation and worse. But unfortunately, no system that depends on the individual benevolence of someone with absolute power can be relied on. People under guardianship still have their own opinions and feelings, and they deserve the respect that everyone else is afforded.” There are also some who just simply call for the reform of guardianships around the country. If you would like more resources on Elder Law and on Guardianships, the American Bar Association has a page full of resources. https://www.americanbar.org/groups/law_aging/resources/guardianship_law_practice/

In the future, I will maybe do a post/video on getting our legal life in order—wills and directives are not just for the elderly. These are things we all should think about.

That being said, what all of this really made me think about was how we as a society treat the elderly. Many of us have heard the phrase, “Once a Man, twice a child.” There is something known as The Theory of Retrogenesis and it comes up often in the study of dementia and Alzheimer’s. It basically says, “The Retrogenesis theory refers to the process by which degenerative mechanisms in dementia reverse those of normal human development.” (Reisberg). In other words, the person regresses backwards as a child’s brain progresses forward. Cicero said, “For there is assuredly nothing dearer to a man than wisdom, and though age takes away all else, it undoubtedly brings us that.” With the understanding that as we grow older there may be a time when we are unable to take care of ourselves, many ancient cultures had an awareness of this, and had plans in place to take care of their elderly. It was not just that there was a certain level of honor and respect that came with aging, there was also a cultural aspect that was very important to the society as a whole. There was also a certain amount of reverence for the wisdom and the experience that comes along with age. An African proverb said, “Those who respect the elderly pave their own road towards success.” 

There are many lessons that we can learn from the elderly include those on forgiveness, integrity, gratitude, growth, relationships, and just life. 

Jared Diamond, the writer of Guns, Germs, and Steel, wrote The World Until Yesterday, in which he investigated traditional societies and what the modern world might learn from them.

He ask the question, “What can we learn about how to treat elderly people from traditional societies.” While there are many variables to consider, he noted that in modern society, many older people end up living separately from their family and friends. At the worst extreme, we get rid of the elderly by either: neglecting them and not feeding them, abandoning them when the group moves, encouraging suicide, or killing them. He mentioned that there were reasons for that including the environment (artic or desert extremes for example) and resources like food. But he mentioned cultures where there is a priority for feeding and caring for the elderly. Diamond points out the connection between society’s values and the usefulness of the elderly, and the contributions that they can make. Their contributions include childcare, crafting, leading, and sharing knowledge. He also pointed out that in ancient cultures, the wisdom of the elderly spelled the difference between survival and death.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes

I once listened to a story from Clarissa Pinkola Estes, gifted writer, folklorist, and story teller, where she tells the story of a young man who was tired of taking care of his father. He brought him up to a hill to abandon him, and returned to the village. When things started to get cold and dark, he did not know how to start a fire. No one in the village felt responsible for teaching him this, because it was the role of the elders closest to him. He eventually went back up to the mountain to retrieve his father, and his father ended up teaching him how to light the fire. He also learned more about his father’s life, and developed a true respect for him. One of Diamond’s comments about his research was, “The repositories of knowledge are the memories of old people. If you don’t have old people to remember what happened 50 years ago, you’ve lost a lot of experience for that society.” That includes everything from communal history to advice on surviving natural disasters.

There are also many studies about how different societies treat and respect their elderly—for example in many Asian and Mediterranean cultures, it was considered dishonorable not to take care of the elderly. It was also very common to find multigenerational families. Modern technology and things like globalization and modernization have led to a breakdown in those traditional structures. Diamond said there was also a “cult of youth,” and an emphasis on “work” as how people gain value. Once you are no longer working, in some cases you lose the value that you had in the eyes of society. He also mentioned that modern technology is putting some of the elderly at a risk of falling behind in terms of what modern literacy means. He said, to improve the lives of the elderly we should, “Understand their changing strengths and weaknesses as they age, and appreciate their deeper understanding of human relationships and their ability to think across wide-ranging disciplines, to strategize, and share what they’ve learned.” I think this is super important. 

Pearl Buck said, “Our society must make it right and possible for old people not to fear the young or be deserted by them, for the test of a civilization is the way it cares for its helpless members.” Hubert Humphrey also said, “the moral test of the government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children, those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped.” How are we treating the elderly people in our lives? Are they feeling lonely, neglected? Are we treating them as disposable? And why? 

Personally, I view the people that are older than me as gold mines of wisdom, knowledge, and love.

Acklyn, one of my favorite wise people to chat with!
❤ Ktwinkle

An Ntomba proverb said, “A youth that does not cultivate friendship with the elderly is like a tree without roots.”

The last time I saw my great grandmother. She lived past 100.
Judy, Amy, and I ❤

I gain new perspectives and things to ponder from what I learn from those more senior people in my life. In some folktales, we find the archetype of the crone. “The Crone is a symbol of inherent wisdom that comes from experience. She has lived through love, sorrow, hope, and fear, coming out of it all a wise and confident spirit. Through these experiences she has learned the secrets of life and death and of the mysteries beyond this world.” When we connect with the elderly, they can pass this wisdom down to us.

I also had the benefit of living in a multigenerational family structure for years.

Me and grandma

When I returned to that structure after living alone for a few years, many people asked when I would leave. I would chuckle because I didn’t want to. I enjoyed having the perspectives of my grandmother, aunt, mother, and then my younger siblings below me. Additionally, I have friends of ages below and above me.

Three generations ❤

I value these relationships because they are so meaningful. I have had some beautiful conversations, some nuggets of wisdom, and the ability to bask in their company. I do believe society should make the elderly a priority. We can all start doing that on an individual level.

Tips for Cultivating Relationships with the Elderly:

·      Find common interests

·      Ask questions about their life and experiences

·      Tell them interesting things that are happening in your life

·      Spend time together—have conversations, go places (when possible)

·      Be an advocate (If you see something where someone may try to take advantage of someone)

·      Be patient 

· Be genuine

A big thank you to the people in my life who are considered by society as “elderly.” I am thankful for you, and I love you guys! As always, thank you for being here! May the stars shine brightly over your week, and may you cultivate a beautiful relationship with people of different ages than you!

Letting Love in (And Out)…the Heart Chakra

Hello beautiful people and welcome to your weekly dose of Celestial Goodness. As always, thank you for joining me in this space and on this journey. I never take your time for granted—I appreciate the time you spend either reading my blog or watching my videos or both. This is a passion project born of love, and of a desire to be of service–to share the ways in which I have seen how miraculous and beautiful life can be. It is not always easy, especially when the world can seem so chaotic at times. In those times, I try to remember as mythology teaches, that entire worlds can be birth from chaos.

Anais Nin said, “In chaos, there is fertility,” and Friedrich Nietzsche said, “You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.” So when things seem chaotic, I like to think of what is being birthed? What can we birth in our own lives when things seem to be a bit more chaotic than we would like it to be? That is just a thought for you to ponder…something to sit with through this week. So yes, all of that to say again thank you for your time, energy, and presence. Thank you for being here on planet Earth, at a time such as this.

Today we are going to talk about the fourth chakra—the heart chakra—or Anahata. See this week’s video here: https://youtu.be/MGhEDGhvTRA I thought for a very long time about how to present this chakra. As with each chakra, there is so much to say, so much that can be unraveled and revealed even within our own individual lives and our own ways of working with these energy vortexes. If I had to choose one word for the heart chakra, it would be “love.”

If I had to choose a way of visualizing it, I would see it as ebbs of gold, pink, and green light swirling from the chest area out to the world. This light would interact with everything and everyone—from plants and animals—their anima—their spirit and soul, that which is in all of nature, up to the cosmos and back down to the Earth’s core, and of course, it would flow between each of us—from one to another, we would feel love, compassion, empathy, care, appreciation, and a deep reverence and respect for each other and for everything.

If I had to pick a quote—well, you know me well enough to know by now, that I could not pick just one. I will start with one from the Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. “One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.” And then, by Jacques Benigne Bossu “The heart has reasons that reason does not understand.” Marcia Wiederkehr said, “I stand before what is an open heart. And with an open heart I dwell in possibility.” The heart chakra represents all of the potential of the blessings that come with having an open heart. In the Prophet, Khalil Gibran said some of the most beautiful words that I have heard arranged together.

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.” The heart chakra is a love letter to us, and it is a love letter to life.

In Sanskrit, Anahata means “sound produced without touching two parts.” It also means, “pure, clean, stainless, unhurt, unstuck, and unbeaten.” This fourth chakra is associated with unconditional love, with compassion, joy, and the deepest truths of life—those which cannot be expressed in words. It is also associated with balance, calmness, and serenity. This is the part of the journey through the chakras where we arrive at the center—we arrive to the heart of things.

This chakra represents a bridge between the three lower chakras representing matter (Root, Sacral, and Solar Plexus), and the higher chakras representing spirit (Throat, Third Eye, and Crown). It is also a step into another element. With the root chakra represented by the grounded Element of Earth, the Sacral Chakra represented by the creative energy of the Element of Water, and the Solar Plexus represented by the passionate Element of Fire, we now arrive at the Element of Air. Air is ethereal and intangible, and this chakra represents the move from the tangible to the intangible. Air is all around us. Liz Simpson describes the Heart Chakra by saying, “This love is not dependent on others. It is not the tribal love of the Root Chakra or the sexual love of the Sacral Chakra, but is a state of being, enduring and constant, regardless of externals.”

I believe that the heart chakra asks the question—Can you love and be loved despite? You can fill in your own word after despite, but some that I think of are: Can you love and be loved despite past hurt? Can you love and be loved despite a difference of opinion and belief? Can you love and be loved despite how you were raised to believe that love should be? Can you love and be loved despite the story of love that you have created in your mind? No matter—whether it may be outdated and not working? Are you consciously aware of the story that you are telling yourself about love? 

Many years ago when I first when to see my dear friend Mr. Rishi, he told me that I needed to work on strengthening my Heart chakra. His words were, “You need to strengthen your Heart chakra which governs compassion, love, your emotional zone, self-acceptance and forgiveness. Imbalance causes grief, allergies and fever, depression or heart ailments. Once opened you are blessed with good health, peace, fulfilment of desires and good relationships.” I knew something was wrong in that area. I had suffered heartaches—and that is the chance that we take right—when we love, we risk hurt? I suffered heartaches and internalized them mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I was building a wall around my heart that was bigger than the Great Wall of China. But when we build walls, we have to remember that we are not just keeping people and experiences out, we are also keeping ourselves in. We are creating a prison for ourselves. We have to be able to transform pain so that we can keep our love flowing. The Anahata is the spiritual place where we become free from the past so that old hurts and grievances can no longer hurt us. It is our sacred inner temple, and the work that we do there not only benefits us internally, but also externally.

The heart chakra is found at the center of our chest area. Because of its location, it has associations with the cardiac system and with the lungs. As the heart chakra is also associated with air, it should be no surprise that these organs rely on air and the breath (prana) to function properly. It is also associated with the immune system.

It is also said that the Earth has chakra points. Many people theorize that the Earth’s heart chakra is located in two cities fairly close to each other in England—Glastonbury, and Shaftesbury. They are also close to Stonehenge. I have visited Glastonbury (also because it is also thought to be the mythical land of Avalon from King Arthur tales) and could definitely feel the energy of the place. The heart chakra is associated with the color green. At higher frequencies it is also associated with the color pink. It represents love energy and transformation.

Glastonbury Tor
It was very windy and cold, but smiles anyway!
Smaller than I thought it would be, but still cool!
Stonehenge

When this chakra is imbalanced or blocked you may have physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual symptoms. This could include: deep insecurities and fears, manipulative behavior when it comes to love, difficulty trusting, feelings of jealousy, you may isolate yourself excessively, you put yourself in the role of victim or rescuer, you may be possessive, you may love conditionally—I will only love you if…, you might withhold emotions to punish others, you could be overly dramatic, fear rejection, feel unworthy to receive love, and codependent. Physical ailments can include respiratory problems—lung infections, bronchitis, and circulatory and heart related issues.

When this chakra is healthy, opened, and aligned, you are empathetic, compassionate, you love unconditionally, you are nurturing, you feel surrounded by love and joy, you feel connected to the world, you see the beauty and love in yourself, in others, and in the planet, you feel gratitude, you have emotional control, you are able to transcend the ego, and you experience deep and meaningful relationships.

When working on healing my heart chakra, I had to get very real and very honest with myself. I had to ask questions where I knew the answers might hurt my feelings. What was the root source of my attraction to codependent relationships? Why didn’t I feel truly worthy of a healthy love and relationship? What did I think of myself? Could I forgive myself for my role in my life when things went wrong? Could I forgive others? There were tears, and deep walks with my shadow. But one day, I stopped feeling the pain of heartache, and instead felt the joy of immersing myself in love again. It can take time, and it can be scary to face yourself. And you will feel like quitting…but I ask you to keep on the road if you are doing heart chakra work. Asking these questions along with doing the work—the hard but rewarding work of healing, really transformed my life. That is the promise of the heart chakra. Open your heart, take that risk, and you will reap the rewards. It may not always work out, but an open heart chakra allows us to see the blessings in each lesson, and in each season of our life. My wish for you is that you know the joys of an open heart chakra—the release of fears, the release of insecurities, the pleasure of deep and meaningful relationships with yourself and others.

So what are some ways to balance the Heart Chakra? 

· Meditation to balance the Heart Chakra. Many meditations out there can help you to concentrate healing energies to the Heart Chakra area. Each Chakra is also associated with a particular sound. The heart chakra is associated with the sound/mantra YAM. Meditating and chanting to YAM for even a few minutes can be beneficial to helping balance the heart chakra—the anahata. Listening to 128Hz frequency or 639Hz while meditating is also great—these are the frequencies that resonates with the heart chakra. They help to activate love, compassion, vulnerability, and forgiveness.

·      Crystal Healing. Crystals vibrate with different energies.  Helpful crystals for heart chakra healing work are crystals that are green or pink in color. These include some of my personal favorites: Rose Quartz, Emerald (The stone of successful love), Malachite, Jade, Aventurine, Rhodochrosite, and Amazonite (Stone of Courage). Carrying these close to you and placing the gemstones on the area of your heart chakra while lying down can be very beneficial to helping with alignment. 

· Colors. Surround yourself with the colors pink and green. These colors are most strongly associated with the heart chakra. Wear pink or green clothing—talk to your AKA friends and see if they can hook you up with some green and pink décor.

· Foods. Eating your greens has never felt so good! Eat things like leafy greens, green vegetables, green fruits things like green apples, kiwi, spinach, kale, celery, callaloo, collard greens, broccoli, green grapes, avocado, Brussel sprouts and spirulina. Foods with a green color resonate with this chakra.

· Practice Forgiveness. This Buddhist forgiveness prayer is one of my favorites: If I have harmed anyone in any way either knowingly or unknowingly through my own confusions, I ask their forgiveness. If anyone has harmed me in any way either knowingly or unknowingly through their own confusion, I forgive them. And if there is a situation, I am not yet ready to forgive, I forgive myself for that. For all the ways that I harm myself, negate, doubt, belittle myself, judge, or be unkind to myself through my own confusions: I forgive myself. You can see it in my video/blog on forgiveness! https://youtu.be/Lu-9trkl3lk

·      Seek therapy. Therapy really helped me in this area. It helped to have someone neutral help me to face myself. As always, I will always include this, but I am aware that it can be difficult for some people, whether due to financial barriers or through other forms of access. There are resources available for low cost or virtual therapy. Here is a resource from SAMSHA:  https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/

· Connect with the air element. Light some incense or go where you can feel a nice breeze. Check out my video/blog on the element of air. https://youtu.be/PObRDbrK9xs

· Practice your affirmations! Here are a few: I am worthy of the purest love. I release and let go of all resentment. I forgive myself and I forgive others. I love myself for who I am and the potential within me. I am grateful for the love that is in my life. There is an infinite supply of love. I live in balance, in a state of gracefulness and gratitude. I am love.

As always, I hope that this information was informative and that you can apply these in a practical manner in your life. Please let me know if anything works well for you!! Also, please feel free to drop more tips/suggestions in the comments. May the stars shine brightly over your week, and may you feel the love that is all around deeply and truly. Thank you.

Reclaiming Your Power. The Solar Plexus Chakra

Hello beautiful people and welcome to your weekly dose of Celestial Goodness. As always, thank you for joining me in this space, and on this journey. I hope that you had a wonderful week. Isn’t it amazing how much can happen in one week? Over the last two weeks we took a small detour in order to pay tribute to both love and to black history month. This week, we return to our conversation about the chakras. On our chakra journey we have made stops at the root and the sacral chakras. Not only did these two chakras teach us important lessons about creating a solid foundation, our role in the larger community across space and time, and about how we are in relationships with others, it also taught us the importance of finding balance, pleasure, inner and outer security, and joy. See this week’s video here: https://youtu.be/qVSQZ9J-QHQ

Now we arrive to the third chakra—the Manipura or the solar plexus chakra. You would be right to associate “solar” with the sun and with all things radiant and vibrant. When I think about the solar plexus, I imagine the sun shining its bright golden light all over the world, and reminding us of its power. This chakra has a similar vibe. It is the chakra that reminds us to take back our power, to exude that power, and to let our energy shine for all to see. We are shining our unique and individual light so that collectively we can light this whole place up! Liz Simpson says, “At a societal level, the Solar Plexus Chakra relates to our connection with others, but without the Root (First) Chakra’s reliance on the tribe, or the Sacral Chakra’s emphasis on partnerships. It is about the power to be an individual, to be unique, while celebrating our continuing connection with all humanity.”

The Sanskrit name for the Solar Plexus chakra is Manipura. It translates to “city of jewels” or “lustrous gem.” Many consider it to be the seat of the soul because it is located in the upper belly at the diaphragm (between the naval and the base of the sternum) and it serves as our center of personal power. The color associated with this chakra is yellow or gold. The element associated with the manipura is fire. 

When we think of fire, we think of an element that has the power to transform. In my blog/video on the element of fire, I said, “Fire is the element that both destroys and creates. Fire needs to consume something—wood, coals, something material so that it can flourish. In the process, it creates energy for us to have light to see, to cook our foods, and to warm our homes. Fire is transformation and the determination of our will. Fire represents passion, creativity, and purification. Without the pressures of the heat from fire, a diamond remains a lump of coal. Many of us have gone through our own individual passage through fire in our lives, and we are still here to tell about it.”

This is also the lesson of the solar plexus chakra. As a place of transformation, power, personal freedom, choice, authenticity, self-will, and self-confidence, it is important that we use these things in the right way. What do I mean by that? This chakra rules over the ego, over personality, and over identity. When this chakra is healthy, opened, and aligned, you feel self-confident, you have respect yourself and others, you are spontaneous, uninhibited, you have self-acceptance, you are self-motivated and have a strong sense of purpose. You are also blessed with good health and even fame. In addition, you can easily shake off fears of rejection and criticism, and be secure in your own unique identity. When this chakra is imbalanced or blocked, you become extremely concerned with what others think, you are insecure, need constant reassurance and validation, stressed, indigestion, are a workaholic, have difficulty making decisions, controlling, judgmental, angry and controlling. Some physical symptoms could include stomach ulcers, stomach weight, diabetes, allergies, and extreme fatigue.

You can use your personal power in ways that empower yourself and others or you can use it to make life hell for others. In Psychology Today, Robert Firestone writes that, “there is a clear distinction between personal and negative power… Personal power is based on strength, confidence, and competence that individuals gradually acquire in the course of their development. It is self-assertion, and a natural, healthy striving for love, satisfaction, and meaning in one’s interpersonal world. This type of power represents a movement toward self-realization and transcendent goals in life; its primary aim is mastery of self, not others. Personal power is more of an attitude or state of mind than an attempt to maneuver or control others. It is based on competence, vision, positive personal qualities, and service. When externalized it is likely to be more generous, creative and humane than other forms of power.”

On my own journey with the solar plexus chakra, I think back to ways that I have given my power away in the past, and how I reclaimed it with the help of doing some solar plexus work. Alice Walker said, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking that they don’t have any.”

· There have been times in my life when I sought external validation from others. I sought recognition and approval from others when I needed that recognition and approval from myself. Echkart Tolle said, “Stop looking outside for scraps of pleasure or fulfillment, for validation, security, or love—you have a treasure within that is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer.” Please clap for yourself.

· In other situations, I waited for someone to give me permission—permission to live, to take action, to create the life that I wanted. It was like I was waiting for the sky to open up and someone adultier than me to say, “Do this, or do that.” Part of taking back your power means that you decide when the light turns green. You decide when you put your foot on the gas. Some people in my life know that when I was in my early 30s, I reclaimed my birthday. I stopped letting others dictate what I would do to celebrate this important day in my life. I decide to do things that were meaningful to me and that I would enjoy. For one birthday, I took the train from DC to NYC. I spent a lovely day at the Met with my friends Alan and Richmond. We had lunch overlooking Central Park. I people watched that day, wrote in my journal, and then went to see the Lion King on Broadway for the first time. It was exhilarating. Also, I splurged and sat in the 1st row. I soaked in everything—the music, the costumes, the theatrics. It was incredible. No permission is needed to enjoy your life.

I miss you Broadway… we will keep the light on till you come back ❤

· Another way that I have given up my power in life has been when I have put everyone else’s needs ahead of my own. It is one thing to be a good and kind person—someone who cares about others, and is helpful and of service. But when you neglect yourself, and make others the priority—you are giving away your power. It is ok to put up healthy boundaries, and no is a complete sentence. I use to honor the needs of others before my own, and if I did something for myself, I felt extremely guilty. Remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup—and yes, the world will still go on without you, if you make space for yourself to rest, recalibrate, and do what you need to do for you.

· Another example is that there are many moments in my life when I have played small. I knew that I had more talent, ability, and energy to go for something more, but I was insecure. Where in your life are you playing small? Where can you aim for more? Where can you do more? Michael Buonarroti said, “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.” I have learned along the way that I am capable of some amazing things, and that I need to believe in myself. I am eternally grateful though to have some amazing people in my life who have believed in me when I struggled with this. Elizabeth Gilbert said, “Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them.” Why not argue for your gifts and talents? Why not argue for the things that are unique and beautiful to you? If you are listening to this or reading this, I hope you take this as a sign to aim high. I believe in you.

The Arc de Triomphe and I believe in your ability to triumph!

· There are many other ways in which we give our power away. Too much saying sorry when we have done nothing to apologize for, when we let others steer the ship of our lives, when we don’t listen to our intuition, when we don’t speak up about things that we should speak up about. The good thing is that life is fluid and we can always reclaim our power. Let the solar plexus light the way for you. Liz Simpson said, “Only by truly loving and honoring ourselves can we hope to act out of love and compassion towards others.” Indeed. Love and honor yourself.

Follow the yellow “solar plexus road”

So what are some ways to balance the Solar Plexus Chakra? 

· Meditation to balance the Solar Plexus chakra. Many meditations out there can help you to concentrate healing energies to the Solar Plexus area. Each Chakra is also associated with a particular sound. The solar plexus is associated with the sound/mantra RAM. Meditating and chanting to RAM for even a few minutes can be beneficial to helping balance the solar plexus. Listening to 364Hz frequency or 528Hz while meditating is also great—these are the frequencies that resonates with the solar plexus chakra. It activates your imagination, intention, and intuition.

· Crystal Healing. Crystals vibrate with different energies. Helpful crystals for solar plexus healing work are crystals that are golden or yellow in color. These include: citrine, sunstone, pyrite, mookaite, tigers’ eye, yellow jasper, and golden quartz. Carrying these close to you and placing the gemstones on the area of your solar plexus chakra while lying down can be very beneficial to helping with alignment.

· Colors. Surround yourself with the color yellow or gold. This color is most strongly associated with the solar plexus chakra. Wear yellow or gold clothing. Add some yellow or gold to your décor.

Add a little yellow/gold to your wardrobe 🙂

· Foods. Eat things like grains, cereal, sunflower seeds, ginger, turmeric, chamomile, fennel, cumin, bananas, pineapples, corn, lemons, and curry. Foods with a yellow color resonate with this chakra.

·      Get some Sunshine. The solar plexus chakra benefits from movement. It is also connected with the energy of the sun. Exercising or walking in the sun for even half an hour can be beneficial!

·      Mirror activity. Look yourself in the mirror, confront your inner critic, and say some nice things to yourself to bolster your confidence! 

·      Seek therapy. I will always include this, but I am aware that it can be difficult for some people, whether due to financial barriers or through other forms of access. There are resources available for low cost or virtual therapy. Here is a resource from SAMSHA:  https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/

· Connect with the fire element. I have a blog/video on this. As a fire sign, I am cognizant about my own connection with this element. A medical astrologer that I admire, told me that I have to move to active the fire element in my chart. I give you this advice for your solar plexus work. Check out my video the fire element. https://youtu.be/23kM61f6snE

· Practice your affirmations! Here are a few: I accept and value myself as I am. I treat myself with respect and honor. My personal power is becoming stronger each day. I use my power for good. I am confident in my decisions. I forgive myself for past mistakes and I grow from them.

As always, I hope that this information was informative and that you can apply these in a practical manner in your life. Please let me know if anything works well for you!! Also, please feel free to drop more tips/suggestions in the comments. May the stars shine brightly over your week, and may you keep shining as well. May you feel confident, loved, and like your authentic self. Thank you!

Black History Month. A Tribute to Black Excellence

Last week we had a lovely conversation about love. This week, I wanted to pay tribute to the fact that here in the United States it is Black History Month. First, we need way more than a month to celebrate the myriad achievements, accomplishments, and successes of black people in this country. But since we have limited time, I want to share a few examples of people who have inspired me, and who are the epitome of black excellence. See this week’s video here: https://youtu.be/oXJr_WaaG5g

I heard it said once that America loves to categorize people. You have to choose a role or different roles for your life. Some roles will come more to the forefront at different times in your life and at different moments. I am for example, an immigrant, a UW-Madison Badger, an oldest child, a Sagittarius, a small business owner, a lawyer/librarian, a spiritual enthusiast, a woman, resident unicorn, book lover, and so much more. But one thing is always at the forefront in America, and that is that I am black.

Halloween one year. Reprising my role as a Gryffindor. I solemnly swear that I was up to no good 😛

I was born in another country, but when I came to America, I became very aware of this fact. I remember being teased for my accent and told, “Go back to Africa,” and innocently and naively replying, “But I am not from Africa. I am from Jamaica.” In the breathtakingly beautiful book, Americanah,

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie writes, “Dear Non-American Black, when you make the choice to come to America, you become black. Stop arguing. Stop saying I’m Jamaican or I’m Ghanaian. America doesn’t care.” She also says, “Race doesn’t really exist for you because it has never been a barrier. Black folks don’t have that choice.” And it is true. When you come from a predominantly black country—I think that even as a child, you don’t necessarily think about race as much. Classism perhaps more, and even colorism, but even those additional byproducts of colonialism, move further down on the totem pole than race.

Jamaica’s motto is “Out of Many One People” based on the multiracial roots of the population.

There are many influences from around the world that contributed to the makeup of the Jamaican people. This includes: African ancestry (primarily from West Africa), British, Scottish, Irish, Southeast Asian to include Indian, Chinese, and Lebanese, Spanish, and the original Taino/Arawak Indians.

It is not uncommon to meet someone who might be a combination of at least several of these different types of lineage. In my own lineage, the predominance is African heritage, but there is also Indian (from South Indian), Scotland, Cuba, and Ireland. These are what we can trace to some extent. The cruel institution of slavery robbed a large percentage of people in the Western Hemisphere of the ability to trace their ancestry back very far. The things that I have been able to unearth have been helpful in helping me to understand myself. Why do I like the things that I do? Why might I be drawn to a particular place? I do think of all of my ancestors and how the crossing of their paths would eventually lead to me. For that I am thankful.

I have a deep love for Scotland…there is just something about the place!

Jumping back to America, when you come to America with black skin, you become very aware that as far as this nation is concerned, you are black before anything else. As you get older, in addition to dealing with the things that come along with growing up, you are also learning how to hold this aspect of your being as sacred. You are learning how to love what you have been taught to believe is not something worth loving. From your hair to your hips to your lips.

Natural crown

The past year has been an epic reminder about the harm that systematic racism and white supremacy have on this nation. But this blog and video is not about that, we have had plenty of that… this is instead a reminder that even in the midst of pain, grief, and the obstacles that are thrust in your path when you have black skin, that there are also things to celebrate. The brilliant minds, the triumphant smiles, wit, skills, talent, creative gifts, just the presence, and so much more. There is joy, laughter, and love to be held as sacred. There is Black girl magic to sprinkle across the spacious skies, the amber waves of grain, the purple mountain majesties, and the fruited plains.

First, how did Black History Month come into being? In 1913 on the 50th anniversary of the 13thAmendment (The Emancipation Proclamation), Carter G. Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

In 1926, the group instituted Negro History Week. They chose the second week of February because it coincided with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Negro History Week gained recognition in different cities across the country. During the Civil Rights Movements of the 50s and the 60s, it gained increased attention. In 1976, then president Gerald Ford officially recognized February as Black History Month. He asked Americans to, “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” And they have been quite the accomplishments. Here are a few:

·      Benjamin Banneker—farmer, astronomer, and mathematician among other things created the first clock in America.

·      Dr. Charles Drew invented a way of separating and storing plasma, which allowed for blood banks and millions of lives saved. 

·      Oliver Brown wins his supreme court case, “Brown vs. Board of Education,” where they declared separate but equal unconstitutional. 

·      George Sampson created the clothes dryer.

·      Althea Gibson is the first black tennis player to win Wimbledon.

·      Lewis Latimer invented the carbon filament that let light bulbs be commercialized. 

·      Ruth Carol Taylor became the first Black flight attendant in the United States

·      In 1963 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his I have a dream speech. 

·      Daniel Hale Williams not only established the Provident Hospital and Training School Association in Chicago, but in 1893 he performed the first open heart surgery. It was the first time a patient’s chest cavity had been opened, and they did not die from infection.

·      In 1967, Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as the first black Supreme Court Justice. 

· In 1968, Shirley Chisholm becomes the first black woman elected to Congress. She was the first black person and first woman to run for president of the United States. She wanted to be remembered “not as the first black woman to have made a bid for the presidency…but as a black woman who lived in the 20th century and who dared to be herself.”

Fellow Sagittarius…fellow daughter of the Caribbean…

·      In 1983, Guion Bluford became the first black person in space.

·      Alice H. Parker created the gas heating furnace.

·      In 1985 Gwendolyn Brooks became the first black U.S. Poet Laureate

·      Garrett Morgan created the gas mask and the modern traffic signal.

·      In 1990 Douglas Wilder became the first black governor of any U.S. state. 

·      Alfred Cralle created the ice cream scooper in 1897

·      Phillip Downing created the mail box.

· There are so many more inventions like: the mop, the modern toilet, the modern lock, pacemakers, pencil sharpeners, super soakers, potato chips, touch telephone, video game cartridges, the traffic light, lawn mower, lawn sprinkler, ironing board, blimps, automatic elevator doors, dust pans, blimps, and suspenders.

Beyond this rather impressive list of accomplishments, each day there is someone who is contributing to the collective history of this nation in some amazing way. There are some people throughout history who I have also really admired. This is a hard list to make because there have been so many notable people. I will share some quotes by a few favorites.

Maya Angelou: Well she’s here because she is one of my favorites. Writer, poet, activist, all around phenomenal woman. She said, “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduce by them.” She also said, “Lift up your hearts. Each new hour holds new chances for new beginnings.”

Gwendolyn Brooks: Probably one of America’s most famous poets. Her words ring sweetly on the ears. ““Exhaust the little moment. Soon it dies. And be it gash or gold it will not come. Again in this identical disguise.” “We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.” “We don’t ask a flower any special reason for its existence. We just look at it and are able to accept it as being something different from ourselves.”

James Baldwin: I have mentioned Baldwin before, because he is always somewhere in my mind. Whenever I see any sort of injustice, I almost feel him looking at me, inspiring me to speak. “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.” “Love takes off the masks we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.” “Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.”

W.E.B. DuBois: DuBois was many things—historian, educator, civil rights activist and sociologist among other things. He said, ““Now is the accepted time, not tomorrow, not some more convenient season. It is today that our best work can be done and not some future day or future year. It is today that we fit ourselves for the greater usefulness of tomorrow. Today is the seed time, now are the hours of work, and tomorrow comes the harvest and the playtime.”

Zora Neale Hurston: An amazing writer, anthropologist, and folklorist, she was wise and filled with insight about the world around her. She said, “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” “Those that don’t got it, can’t show it. Those that got it, can’t hide it.” And this, “Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.”

Jane Bolin: The first African American woman to graduate from Yale Law School, and also the first black woman judge in the United States. She said, “Those gains we have made were never graciously and generously granted. We have had to fight every inch of the way.”

Ruby Bridges: The first African American student to integrate an elementary school in the South, she said, “Don’t follow the path. Go where there is no path and begin the trail. When you start a new trail equipped with courage, strength and conviction, the only thing that can stop you is you!” She also said, “I now know that experience comes to us for a purpose, and if we follow the guidance of the spirit within us, we will probably find that the purpose is a good one.”

Alvin Ailey: The famous dancer, choreographer and activist, he revolutionized the participation of African Americans in dance. He founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City. He said, “I am trying to show the world that we are all human beings and that color is not important. What is important is the quality of our work.” “I wanted to explore black culture and I wanted that culture to be a revelation.” He also said, “Dance is for everybody. I believe that dance came from the people and that is should be delivered back to the people.”

Rebecca Lee Crumpler: The first African American woman doctor in the United States, she said, “I early conceived a liking for, and sought every opportunity to relieve the suffering of others.” “Selfish prudence is too often allowed to come between duty and human life.”

Lorraine Hansberry: An incredibly talented writer, she wrote, “A Raisin in the Sun.” She said, ““I wish to live because life has within it that which is good, that which is beautiful, and that which is love. Therefore, since I have known all of these things, I have found them to be reason enough and — I wish to live. Moreover, because this is so, I wish others to live for generations and generations and generations and generations.”

George Washington Carver: An agricultural scientist and inventor, he discovered hundreds of products that benefited all of America. He had some great quotes. “Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.” “When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.” “Where there is no vision, there is no hope.” “Fear of something is at the root of hate for others, and hate within will eventually destroy the hater.” “Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.” “There is no short cut to achievement. Life requires thorough preparation – veneer isn’t worth anything.” “Since new developments are the products of a creative mind, we must therefore stimulate and encourage that type of mind in every way possible.”

There is so much that can be celebrated, and so many people doing good, blazing a trail (either loudly or quietly) each day. My cousin said that there is a temptation to believe that African American history began in Jamestown in 1619, but there is black history before slavery.

It is important to note that in American history, there has been slavery longer than there has not. As America attempts to reconcile it’s sordid history, we must also remember that there is a rich legacy that inspires, uplifts, encourages, and reminds us of what we can overcome. The legacy of not just surviving, but of living, loving, and thriving is also part of our birthright. I hope that you learned something interesting or felt inspired by one of the quotes from one of these amazing people. I also hope that you will do your own research, and see that black history is American history.

Puzzle & Bloom ❤

To celebrate this month, one of my besties over at Puzzles and Bloom is offering a 30% off discount code for their amazing puzzle which celebrate the beauty, diversity, and culture of black people! Use discount 30%OFF and check them out at: https://puzzleandbloom.com/

May the stars shine brightly over your week, and may you realize that you are your ancestors wildest dreams.

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

What a year it has been already? On some days, time feels like it is standing still, and on other days, it feels like time is flying. I suppose the time feeling like its flying is why I hardly noticed that we were coming up to Valentine’s Day. I am taking a small shift away from talking about the Chakras this weekend to talk about another topic that I love to talk about, and that is love. Initially, I wanted to do something for black history month, but I will do that next weekend, and then back to our regular scheduled chakra conversation. You can find this week’s video here: https://youtu.be/Fw91LyZKr6k

Also, this past week marked the Lunar New Year. This is the year of the white metal Ox. I read that this is a year for good luck and relationships. It is said that 2021 holds a wealth of promise for each sign. I also read that it is a year where hard work can really be rewarded, that there will be enhanced unity and harmony, and most importantly, there shouldn’t be any major catastrophic events, you know, like a pandemic. Since this year is marked by the color and element of white metal, there should be greater abundance, prosperity and success.

That sounds pleasant, and since relationships will be a focal point, let’s talk about love… Does it really make the world go round? What are the different types of love, and then Valentine’s Day? What’s it really all about?

We will start with Valentine’s Day. I don’t recall celebrating Valentine’s Day in the first few years of my life…my first real memories of it came when my family came to America. I remember nagging mommy to take me to the store to buy Valentine’s for my whole class. I would spend the time writing each one up, adding an extra message for my friends and other people that I like. I think I only wrote my name on the ones for people that I didn’t really care for, lol, ah childhood. I also remember asking mommy to buy chocolate after Valentine’s Day because it was cheaper. I hoped that would help make my case for why I should get her to spend her hard earned money on chocolate to begin with.

Chocolate itself has a fascinating history. On a trip to Mexico, I learned about the healing, medicinal, and purported aphrodisiac-esq qualities of cacao. Growing up in the islands we ate the cacao plant, and we made a delicious chocolate tea from the dried fruit. Like in ancient times, we mix the chocolate with cinnamon, nutmeg, and milk. It is said that cacao helps to heal depression, insomnia, nervousness, and that pure cacao can even regulate blood pressure and sugar levels. In ancient times, chocolate was for royalty.

Chocolate Margarita in Mexico… Delicioso!

This carried on with colonialism, and when the British learned about this delicious treat, they were not immune from loving it. Apparently, Queen Victoria had a thing for chocolate, and the British confectioners took advantage of that to start mass producing the sweets. In 1868 Richard Cadbury created a heart shaped box of chocolate for Valentine’s Day. You know Cadbury—the eggs, think the Cadbury bunny eggs.

But how did Valentine’s Day even come about? I read that the origins of Valentine’s Day are actually pretty wild. Of course, as with most things, there is controversy over the facts. Some historians trace Valentine’s Day back to a Roman celebration called Lupercalia. It was an annual festival that was observed in Rome from February 13th to February 15th. The purpose was to avert evil spirits and to purifying the city. This purification would release in good health for all, and increased fertility. It was also called dies Februatus after the thong used for purging (februa)—we will get to that. That is also the origin of the name February.

Essentially during Lupercalia, male goats and a dog were sacrificed by one of the Luperci (a priest of Lupercalia—a member of the brothers of the wolf). It is important to note here that Rome was said to be founded on Palatine Hill by two brothers—Romulus and Remus. They were raised by a she-wolf, “La Lupa Capitolina” or the “Capitoline Wolf.” So wolves play an important role in Roman history and mythology.

At the Capitoline Museum in Rome (Roma Capitale)

After sacrificing the goats and dogs, an offering was made and there were additional festivities. The Luperci cut thongs known as februa from the skin of the sacrificed animals. They would run naked around Palatine before returning back to their base. During the run, they would hit people (mostly women) with the thongs. Apparently, pregnant women believed that if they were struck by the thong that they would have a smooth pregnancy and delivery, and if a woman was barren and struck by the thong, that she would become fertile. This festival also included a matchmaking lottery. In the lottery, men would draw a woman’s name from a jar and they would be paired up for the duration of Lupercalia. Some matches resulted in marriage. Maybe that is the romantic origin?

In other accounts of the history of Valentine’s Day, the Romans still had a role. Emperor Claudius II executed two men both with the name Valentine on February 14th in the 3rd Century.

The Catholic Church honored them with martyrdom, and this resulted in the celebration of “St. Valentine’s Day.” In one version of this story, Saint Valentine was jailed for ministering to persecuted Christians. He restored the sight of his jailer’s blind daughter. In other stories, he was said to write letters to the jailer’s blind daughter, and he signed one letter with “Your Valentine,” before he was executed. In another tale, he performed weddings for Christian soldiers who were not allowed to be married. It was said that Saint Valentine wore an amethyst ring, with a cupid engraved on it. Soldiers would see the symbol and ask him to perform their marriage. Some people think this is why the amethyst is the birthstone for February. In the 5th Century, Pope Gelasius I established the Feast of Saint Valentine. This was while simultaneously trying to cancel the Lupercalia, however he was unsuccessful. The day had become attributed to purging, fertility, and love.

Many ancient writers like Shakespeare and Chaucer helped to romanticize Lupercalia and that helped to transform it into a sweeter sounding holiday. In A Midsummer’s Night Dream (my favorite Shakespearean work), he said, “Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s Day, all in the morning betime, and I a maid at your window, to be your valentine.”

In some other cultures, the time marks the coming of spring, and this is something that we can all love. In the 19th century, many people started exchanging paper cards and this tradition carried on when the holiday crossed the pond. In 1913, Hallmark Cards began mass producing cards for the holiday. Valentine’s Day is big business—with sales of more than 20 billion dollars spent annually to celebrate. So even though the holiday has become so commercialized, does that mean the love element is lost? I have celebrated Valentine’s Day with a romantic partner in the past and now the present…but I have also celebrated Galentine’s Day with my dear friends. (A few of the people I’ve celebrated with below… <3)

I think love is too powerful to be diminished by capitalism. There are several different types of love. You can express any one of them at any time. According to the ancient Greeks, there were eight different types of love.

·      Agape: This is the highest type of love there is to offer. It is selfless love. It is unconditional love. It is free from desires and expectations, and is often considered to be a more spiritual form of love. 

·      Philautia: This is self-love. You take care of your well-being, and you recognize your self-worth. It is also about compassion for the self. You cannot pour from an empty cup. Once you love yourself, you can provide love to others. 

·      Mania: This is exactly what it sounds like… it is an obsessive love towards a partner. This is madness in relationships, and can lead to issues of possessiveness, jealousy, and codependency. 

· Ludus: This is flirtatious or playful love that is usually found in the beginning stages of a relationship. This is where we feel butterflies and that sense of euphoria.

·      Eros: This is a primal love that deals with physical pleasure. Named after the God of love and fertility, it is sexual passion and desire. 

·      Storge: This is the love between parents and children, and between best friends. It is built upon a deep emotional connection. It is a natural form of affection that flows between family and friends. 

·      Pragma: This is mature love and it evolves and deepens over time. Pragma is love where the parties have put in the work to make it work. 

· Philia: This is affectionate love, and exemplifies the love in friendships. It is love without romantic attraction. Plato believed that physical attraction was not necessary for love, and this is the root of the word “platonic” friendship. Some refer to Philia as “brotherly love.”

I think we can all experience some or all of these in our lives, and in combination with each other. I believe that understanding the different types of love, and our own love language makes it easier for us to give and receive love. The Five Love Languages was coined by Dr. Gary Chapman and outlines five general ways in which we express and receive love. These are:

·      Acts of Service: These are the people who show love by taking action. They do things that they believe will help make your life easier. Show you care by doing the dishes, picking up coffee, or fill up the gas tank. 

·      Gift-Giving: These are people who like to have a visible symbol of love. They value the gift giving process, including the time spent thinking about the gift, and the meaning behind it. Show them you care by appreciating the gifts that they give to you, and by surprising them with meaningful gifts—small or large. 

·      Physical Touch: These are the people who enjoy touch. They want to cuddle, hold hands, and feel physical intimacy. You can show you care by making intimacy a priority!

·      Quality Time: These are people who value time—mostly undivided attention. They want to connect through conversation of activity done together. You can show you care by doing something where they have your attention. Take a long walk together, or take a trip together. 

· Words of Affirmation: These are people who value verbal acknowledgement of love. They love compliments, words of appreciation, frequent communication, and encouragement. To show you care, send unexpected messages, and genuinely support them.

You can take the quiz to find out your love language. I think it is important in partnerships—not just romantic ones—because Dr. Chapman theorized that most people tend to naturally give love in the way that they prefer to receive it. If this is your approach, you might actually miss that someone is showing you love because they are doing it in their way. They might also think they are showing you love, but you just are not receiving it because that’s not your love language. For example, if my partner washes the dishes as an act of service, they might think they are showing me love. But if what I really want is to sit with them for quality time, then I might overlook the act of service as an expression of love. I think these are helpful in developing and evolving in healthy relationships. I once had a conversation with my friend DeJuan (https://www.whatjuanknows.com) about how I used the Law of Attraction to Manifest a healthy love. Some of the tips that I gave were:

1. Know Thyself. You want to work on yourself, not to “perfection,” because you are not perfecting yourself for a man or woman. You are getting solid in yourself—not only does this prevent getting absorbed into the other person, but it allows you to know what you will stand for. I think that when we are not in a romantic relationship is the best time to prepare for a relationship. Your relationship with yourself will always be important. Love yourself so that you don’t eventually put the burden on others to do it for you. Their loving you is icing on the cake. When you are in a relationship, remember that someone else cannot make you whole, you are already whole. Enjoy the lessons and companionship of that other person, but don’t make it their responsibility to provide your happiness.

2.     Believe that you are worth it! Believe that you deserve a healthy love. Don’t settle for anything less than that. You are worthy of love. You are love, loved, loving, and more. 

3.     Make peace with your past so that it does not sabotage your present. You are the captain of your destiny. The past graced us with important lessons, but don’t let the past be a shackle on your future. As you learn, and evolve, you will also learn a lot about the beautiful ways that love can enter our lives and transform things for the better.  

4.     Speak LIFE into your life! Speak love into your life. 

5.     Expect that the things you want will happen. In the words of one of my favorite metaphysical speakers, “You have to believe it before you see it!”

6.     Be authentic. Be true to you—to your wants, to your needs, and to your personality. Everyone is not the same, and it is important to do and say the things that feel natural and authentic to you.

7. Love, love, and love some more. We will talk more about this when we discuss the heart chakra…but I do believe that love is the most powerful force in our universe. I have seen it, experienced it, and work to be an advocate for it.

No matter how you spend Valentine’s Day, or any day, I hope that you remember that you are love. I hope you are reminded of that from friends, family, a partner if that’s your jam, but mostly from yourself. As Paulo Coelho said, “One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.”

And to my own love, As Emily Bronte said, “He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”

May the stars shine brightly over your week, and may it be a week filled with love for you.

Dwelling in the self…Gifts from the Sacral Chakra

Hello beautiful people! I want to take a moment to thank everyone for respecting my need to rest last weekend.

I enjoy doing a variety of different things that allow me to live my life fully—even in this more virtual environment, but rest is always an important part of my life’s equation. Sometimes, we get the signs and we can feel it in our body—the need and the desire to rest. Do we, do I, always listen? Absolutely not. I know from life experience though, that if I don’t listen to the cues from my body to do something that I am being called to do, that eventually something will happen that will force me to listen. See this week’s video here: https://youtu.be/ZPnpnykiTtc

I think it is important to remember and to just acknowledge that we are in the midst of a global pandemic, and there can be some hard days, some hard weeks, in fact, and we have to be gentle with ourselves through this. We can be both grateful for certain aspects of our life, and yet simultaneously we can be grieving for the loss of people, things, events, and experiences that have eluded us due to this larger event that we are all collectively experiencing. We must afford ourselves the grace that we need during this time, and be respectful to ourselves about what we need. I suppose that is also why when I have felt the need to share on my blog and channel some of the things that anchor me, that ground me, and that help me maneuver through this thing called life. Hopefully some of this information is also useful and helpful to you!

So it is with all of this in mind that we continue our journey up from the first chakra, the root, and make a stop at the second chakra, the Sacral Chakra or the Svadhisthana. Liz Simpson says describes this journey as “the energy that shifts humankind from survival to nourishing the soul. From survival we have traveled upward to the “pleasure principle.” The sacral chakra leads us from basic existence to help us embrace what makes life worth living.” 

Svadhisthana translates to “where your being is established,” essentially it is the dwelling place of the self. Some say that it also means “sweetness,” because it is associated with things that make life sweeter. These include: pleasure, nurture, movement, and change. We must dwell sweetly within ourselves; we must make ourselves our home—we must hold our mind, body, soul, and heart as sacred spaces. Tad Williams said, “Never make your home a place. Make a home for yourself inside your own head. You’ll find what you need to furnish it—memory, friends you can trust, love of learning, and other such things. That way it will go with you wherever you journey.” 

The Sacral Chakra is located two inches below your naval, and it is associated with the color Orange. Orange is a color of passion and of fire. As a mixture of yellow and red, it is a color bursting with energy and warmth. The Hindu symbol for this chakra is an orange six petal lotus with a white circle symbolizing the element of water, and a blue or silver crescent moon in the middle. If you look closely enough at the crescent moon you might see a fish-like creature within the moon. It is called a makara (some say it is a crocodile) and it holds similar energies to that of the Kundalini (a story for another day). Within this chakra is said to lie all of our creative pursuits and duties. Our dharma. Dharma is not super easy to explain in a short video, but it is a central and very important philosophy within Hinduism and Buddhism. The simplest explanation is, “that there is a right or true way for each person to carry out their life in order to serve both themselves and others.”

Because of the powerful and passionate energies that lie in this chakra, including those of our sexual desire, it can be dangerous when neglected. It can represent our greatest pleasure or our greatest pain. I read a quote that said, “Svadhisthana is a beautiful lake filled with both the disgusting muck and precious gems of the self. When you are ready, only you can unearth your true self. We can often see clearly what is in someone else’s lake, but this is avoiding the great responsibility of the sacral chakra.”  

Both the moon and the element of water which are both associated with the sacral chakra, deal with emotions. The sacral chakra is a hub, if you will, for our emotional desires, needs, wants, and security. It also governs creativity, sensitivity, sexuality, intimacy, emotional-wellbeing, self-expression, self-confidence, the nature of your relationships, your sense of being nurtured and cherished, your sense of being appreciated by others and freedom from guilt. This is also the chakra where we discover what things we enjoy out in the world, it is how we design a life that we want through interacting with the world, without losing ourselves to the world. It is the chakra that forms the foundation of a healthy ego.  When it becomes blocked or imbalanced, it can lead to some very serious issues. 

Imbalances with the chakras can have both physical and emotional/mental manifestations. As a reminder from our discussion on the root chakra, each chakra also has physical associations. The sacral chakra resonates with the reproductive organs, the bladder, kidney, lymphatic and circulatory systems, the prostate, the womb, the ovaries/testes, and the large intestines. These areas can be impacted when the sacral chakra becomes blocked or imbalanced. The sacral chakra can become blocked by fear, especially by the fear of death. Imbalances in the sacral chakra can also cause fears, insecurities, depression, reproductive issues, sciatic pain, lower back pain, low self-worth, guilt and even manipulative tendencies. A balanced sacral chakra that is functioning correctly allows you to feel fearless, fulfilled, confident, trusting, expressive, emotionally connected and secure, powerful, creative, and better able to manifest your desires. That’s a whole lot!

This chakra and I have a very personal history. It is said that empathetic people—empaths, hold a lot of the energy that they absorb from others in this area. If you don’t properly cleanse your energy from what you absorb from others, it can impact you by causing an imbalanced or blocked chakra. But this chakra can also reveal the fears, and the guilts that you don’t even realize you are holding onto. My parents, who I have mentioned before had me when they were both teenagers. I grew up hearing with an often unstated but lingering reminder in the back of my mind—don’t be a statistic. Don’t also become a teenager parent.

Also having helped raise my younger siblings, I knew first-hand how difficult and expensive it can be to raise children. At some point the “don’t have children early, switches to when are you going to have a child.” Often the people asking these questions have no intention of helping raise said child. I devoted many years of my life to my education and to my career. When I went through a divorce in my late twenties, I did feel that pressure of a biological clock ticking away, and guilt and sadness at the perceived loss of this precious period in my life. Jamaican culture is the type of culture with many good and bad aspects. One of the shadow sides is a constant emphasis on asking women when they are going to have children. It can be so stressful.

I want people to stop asking women this. We don’t know the intimate details of a woman’s body—the things that she has been through, or the personal decisions that she has made about her body, or even whether she has lost a child already. This question can be triggering and painful.

A few years ago, I started experiencing a sharp pain in the area of my ovaries. I didn’t do anything about it for a long time because believe it or not, as humans, we can grow to live with immense pain. I went to see my doctor, and all of this led to the discovery of a very large ovarian cyst—caused from years of taking birth control to help regulate pain, a smaller cyst, and some evidence of endometriosis. I only knew about endometriosis because a friend was brave enough to share her experiences with it. I ended up having surgery, and experiencing the pain of internal physical healing. I know that a lot of women, black women especially also suffer from fibroids.

I believe that there is a certain stress that modern women hold in this area—worrying and wondering if they will be able to do it all. Children, career, and more. And if we don’t check one box, does that mean we are less than? It doesn’t and I think healing the sacral chakra is an important way of getting to the realization that you are amazing as you are, without any additional pressures from society. I don’t know my own personal future as far as whether I will one day have children, but I have been in the lives of many young people, and even more, having established a relationship with my sacral chakra, having learned to dwell in myself, has allowed me to be at peace with whatever the future holds. All of this to say, when working with your sacral chakra, look inward to see if there are any subconscious guilts or fears that you are holding. Can you let these go? You should let them go, gently, with love.

So what are some ways to balance the Sacral chakra? 

· Meditation to balance the Sacral chakra. Many meditations out there can help you to concentrate healing energies to the Sacral Chakra area. Each Chakra is also associated with a particular sound. The sacral chakra is associated with the sound/mantra VAM. Meditating and chanting to VAM for even a few minutes can be beneficial to helping balance the sacral chakra. Listening to 288Hz frequency while meditating is also great—this is the frequency that resonates with the sacral chakra. I once went to visit my cousin in Bermuda, and she took me to get sound healing and an amazing massage that I will never forget. The healer conscious of my previous surgery, did an amazing sound session that resonated with my sacral chakra. I will always be thankful for that.

·      Crystal Healing. Crystals vibrate with different energies.  Helpful crystals for sacral chakra healing work are: coral, citrine, carnelian, orange aventurine, and amber. Carrying these close to you and placing the gemstones on the area of your sacral chakra while lying down can be very beneficial to helping with alignment. 

·      Colors. Surround yourself with the color orange. This color is most strongly associated with the sacral chakra. Wear orange clothing. Add some orange to your décor. 

· Foods. Eat orange foods and foods that are centering—oranges, tangerines, mangos, pumpkin, cantaloupe, sweet potato, carrots, nuts and seeds, and squash are good ones.

·      Be Creative. This chakra is associated with creativity, and any blocks like writer’s block are associated with sacral chakra imbalances. The best way to engage with your creativity is to do something—anything. Paint, draw, make music, cook, write, bake. Julia Cameron, the writer of a phenomenal book, “The Artist Way,” says two things that I really love. First, “Boredom is just, what’s the use in disguise. And what’s the use is fear, and fear means you are secretly in despair. So put your fears on the page. Put anything on the page. Put three pages of it on the page.” Second, “In filling the well, think magic. Think delight. Think fun. Do not think duty. Do not do what you should do—spiritual sit ups like reading a dull but critical text. Do what intrigues you, explore what interests you; think mystery, not mastery.” And so please do anything, something that intrigues and delights you.  

·      Belly dance. Yes, I said it. Watch some tutorials from YouTube and get your sacral chakra moving. Since this chakra is below the belly, these types of movement, help to open you up!

·      Seek therapy to heal from past issues and insecurities. I will always include this, but I am aware that it can be difficult for some people, whether due to financial barriers or through other forms of access. There are resources available for low cost or virtual therapy. Here is a resource from SAMSHA:  https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/

· Connect with the water element. I have a blog/video on this. Water is one of my favorite elements. I love to soak in the sea, the river, or the tub. But I have also learned about the importance of drinking water. Check out one of my previous videos on water, and soak up the love that this element gives to your sacral chakra. See this one on the Element Water: https://youtu.be/h1g0OHnv360 See this one on the importance of Drinking Water: https://youtu.be/vnfBpT0AQmQ

· Practice your affirmations! Here are a few: I love my body. I am radiant, beautiful, and strong. I allow myself to experience pleasure. I feel emotionally secure. I am creative. I allow sweetness into my life.

I hope that this information was informative and that you can apply these in a practical manner in your life. Please let me know if anything works well for you!! Also, please feel free to drop more tips/suggestions in the comments. May the stars shine brightly over your week and may your sacral chakra help you to delight in all of life’s sweetness. Have a beautiful week.

(Some photos used from Unsplash & Google)