A Moment of Grace

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. Last weekend, I shared travel tales from Greenville, SC. This past week was a busy one for me; this isn’t surprising, I am usually busy doing something, and I enjoy that. See this week’s video here: https://youtu.be/d0og8Ojax1c

However, there are weeks like this past one in which I found myself overthinking about a lot of things.

So real…

I thought about things that I had to do, things that I didn’t do that I wanted to do, or have hoped to do by now, people that I hadn’t thought about in a while, other people’s problems and as someone wise pointed out—“you are trying to solve the problems of the world.” Heavens. One of the good things though is having people who care enough to tell you when you are going down that road, and then remind you to come back to the present moment.

Visual representation of me trying to solve the problems of the world…

Through years of working through my own stuff, I have many different coping methods for bringing me back to center and coming back into the present moment. I am thankful for that. I learned a long time ago that overthinking is one of those byproducts of either being too far into the future or too far into the past, and that staying too long in either place is no Bueno. Unsurprisingly, by the time Friday rolled around, I was mentally tired from keeping up with my regular work, adulting, and thinking about life in its entirety. Ha. I also started beating myself up a bit about all of this, and realized after a very delicious nap that what I needed really was to offer myself a little grace.

Sometimes we just need a nap…

Grace can mean many things to many people, and depending on your level of religion or spirituality, it might also have a specific meaning. When I am talking about offering myself grace, I find myself thinking about offering myself some kindness, some compassion, and some peace. I am giving myself a pep talk, and it is a simple one that says, it’s ok. Right here in this moment, you are trying your best, doing your best, and sometimes it doesn’t mean that there won’t be issues, it does mean that if you rest and give yourself some grace, you can approach whatever needs doing from a more focused place. 

I also have a card deck by Cheryl Richardson called the Grace Cards, and sometimes when I am feeling like how I was feeling this past week, I will sit somewhere quiet, try to quiet my mind a bit, and have a conversation with the divine. It is not necessarily a prayer, more like a conversation—I speak, and then listen intuitively to how my body feels, and if I sense any thoughts that would represent a response.

Speaking of my body, checking in with myself and listening to my body has also been helpful. A quick way to do this is to lay down or sit straight up. Close your eyes and starting at the top of your head, pretend you have a scanning wand, and go from your head to your toes. Scan slowly and see if there are any places that feel tension, tiredness, or where you think you might be holding on to something. Also, check to see how you are breathing. And give yourself the gift of a deep, slow, and loving inhale and exhale. I generally hold stress and/or tension in my upper back and shoulder area. If you have found any places on your scan that feel tense, mentally visualize massaging that area. Also send that place some loving energy. You can literally say, I am sending my shoulders loving energy for all the things it carries. I also say thank you to my body, because it does so much for me. Sometimes it is easy to take for granted what works well because we grow to expect it to. We don’t realize how much our bodies for example are doing until something is not working right. In this small way, I offer my body some grace.

On the Grace Card deck, Richardson says, “There is a benevolent force of energy available to guide your life, and it always has your best interest at heart. This energy is grace. When you open yourself up to its influence, you’ll begin to see the signs, symbols, and messages that are placed in your path to lead you in the right direction.” I may pull one, two, or three of these cards depending on what I am guided to pull in that moment. Recently, I pulled two cards and asked, what is it that I need to know right now—here at the end of this week.

The first card was “Peace.” The back of the card said, “When we balance silence with activity, we discover true peace of mind—the source of all joy and happiness.” The second card was “Chance.” It said, “Take the leap. Divine protection is always by our side.” These really spoke to me. I ended up taking a solo walk of 5 miles. In that time, I let my mind wander freely, and I came to a place of peace with some of the things that I had been overthinking. I also took a very long nap after that, and really that was probably some of what I needed.

For the other card, that spoke to me as well. There are a few things that I really want to do—dreams, goals, and musings from my vision board. For some things, I know that the only thing stopping me is that I haven’t actually taken the leap. This was just a reminder that it is never too late to pursue a dream. Sometimes we needed the time to build in either experience or training, but we can’t stay in the cocoon too long. I also like to remind my loved ones that if they try something and failed, it really is a more valuable experience than never having tried at all. I also have to take my own advice.

From a recent walk!

So, this week is as much a pep talk for you as it is for me. I know so many of you have things that you are thinking about doing—things you are overthinking—problems that need solving. I would say this—offer yourself some grace this week. Rest as you need, and then get up and take even one small action in the direction of what needs doing, saying, or releasing. I am going to pull three cards from the Grace deck, and just whatever resonates for you, take that into the week. The amazing thing about life and about everything being connected in some ways, is that no matter when you read or see this, adding your desire to have an appropriate message come will result in that happening. So thank you in advance as well for contributing to our collective Grace.

To the divine, I ask that these cards provide a clear message and guidance for whoever needs it. Let this be a reminder of the love, protection, beauty, and grace that is all around, no matter how the world seems to be. Let us be reminded as well of our role in helping the world to be a better place for everyone. Thank you.

The first card that came up said, “Direction.” Its message was: “Look for clues. Grace will lead us to the exact events and experiences we need at precisely the right time.”

The second card said, “Listen.” Its message was: “When we feel overly attached to an outcome, it’s simply an indication that we need to reconnect with our Wise Self.”

The third card said, “Support.” Its message was: “Expect help. A Divine power more magnificent than anything else that exists on the planet is ready to support our every move.” 

I think this message is pretty clear. There are things churning in the cosmos, stars aligning for us, and places we need to be, and people we need to meet. All of these experiences lead us closer to the things that we desire for our lives. We do need to listen though, and this is the type of listening that requires a connection with our self. It requires us to do that soul listening, to tune into the wisdom that is inherent in all of us, should we choose to embrace it. Finally, we are always supported—divinely supported—even when we forget. I think this is a reminder as well to stay in the flow of things and life.

Flow

So that is my message for you this week. If you can take a few moments to check in with yourself—to see what your mind, body, and soul need from you right now, please do. Please remember that for all the things that you want to solve in the world, and for other people, that kind of charity begins at home. Home is you. You too need rest, and love, and reminders that the present moment is truly a gift. We cannot change the past, so don’t become a prisoner to it. Learn what needed to be learned, and move on wiser and focused. Don’t spend too much time in the future either, because the present moment is what creates the future, and what needs your energy the most. Take care of you, and offer yourself some grace this week.

Sending you lots of good vibes this week!

May the stars shine brightly over your week, and may it be a divinely inspired one! If you are enjoying these videos and the blog, please continue to like, share, comment, and please do subscribe to the blog and the channel. We are almost one year old! Thank you for your support, encouragement, and for trusting me with your time.

Greenville, SC…Southern Hospitality

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 all of you had a wonderful last week, and that you are enjoying life wherever you are. Last week we wrapped up our conversation about the seven chakras. What a lovely journey that was! I hope that you are able to apply some of the tips to your own life for healthy chakra living.

Speaking of journeys, I recently took a real trip to Greenville, South Carolina. I can honestly say that Greenville, South Carolina—there is also a Greenville, North Carolina, had never been on my radar of top places to visit within the United States. I am glad that I opened my mind to a visit there! See this week’s video here: https://youtu.be/Id6oL9I7vSg

I have a list of places that I would like to visit, both domestically and internationally, and at the top it says “This or Better.” I trust that if there is somewhere that I should see, eventually I will end up there. I suggest making such a list for yourself, as you never know when you may get an opportunity to have a little adventure and to cross a place off the list. I also suggest picking a variety of destination types—go somewhere for great food, or for great natural treasures, or for a great cultural experience. All of these different experiences add to the kaleidoscope of your travel experience.

My 2017 list 🙂 …it’s amazing which places I have seen since!

Last fall we went to Asheville, North Carolina for a long weekend. It was cool, but I learned quickly that traveling during a pandemic required a lot of advanced planning, making reservations, and just being as patient as possible.

The Biltmore

As the world, begins to open up bit by bit, and as my travel party and I were all vaccinated, we felt that a weekend trip was in order. One of my best friends grew up pretty close to Greenville, and so that was some of the inspiration about why we went. It is similarly situated to Asheville, so I had something to compare in my mind. I have visited South Carolina before—during the Solar Eclipse of 2017, my family and I drove down to see the end point of the eclipse, which happened in Charleston.

Pineapple Fountain, Charleston, SC

That was an experience. During that trip we also made a stop in a place called Moncks Corner to see the Mepkin Abbey—home to Trappist Monks, and home to the Mepkin Gardens which are both peaceful and stunning.

Monck’s Corner, Mepkin Abbey Gardens

Greenville, SC is approximately a two hour drive from Atlanta, GA, 1.5 hours’ drive south west of Charlotte, NC, and about an hour south of Asheville, NC by car. There is also the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport if you are interested in flying in. For our Greenville trip, we chose to stay at the Aloft Hotel in Downtown Greenville.

Aloft Hotels are part of Marriott Bonvoy, so if you are staying, make sure to connect your Marriott account so that you can get points. The Aloft was perfectly situated for walking almost anywhere we wanted to go. It was clean, organized, and unique.

They also welcomed dogs—we didn’t have a dog, but it seemed like Greenville as a whole was very pet friendly.

Our room offered a great view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Greenville is located at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, so if you are a nature lover, this is a big plus.

Our hotel was located pretty close to Main Street, so once we checked in we were able to go exploring. I found the downtown area to be really beautiful, clean, and filled with fountains and artwork. There are also butterfly exhibits or artwork all over town. The city really promotes art and music.

Downtown off Main Street…

Our stroll took us to Reedy River Falls and to see the Liberty Bridge—a pedestrian suspension bridge that allows you to get a great view of the falls.

Before we went onto the bridge we stopped for a sweet treat. At Spill the Beans, coffee bar and ice-cream shop, we tried a unique ice cream creation. They let you choose a base and then your toppings. After that they blend it all together. I think I had a vanilla base with pineapples, pistachios, mango and Nutella. It was a beautiful day weather wise, and so we enjoyed our ice cream while taking in the natural beauty of the falls.

Later that even, we went to dinner at a place called the Trappe Door, which was conveniently located across the street from our hotel. It had a Belgian pub theme, and reminded me of the Ratskeller in Memorial Union, at the University of Wisconsin where I went to school. The food was excellent, and the service was even better.

After dinner, we strolled along Main Street. You can learn a lot people watching, and also just slowing down to pay attention. I learned about how students from Sterling High School played a role in ending segregation in the area—including at the lunch counters at the Woolworths, and their role in integrating the library and other public spaces.

We also stopped by the Savannah Bee Company to do a honey tasting—we also did this in Asheville, and if you ever get to do a honey tasting at a honey bar, I highly recommend it. One unique flavor was the Black Sage honey, which had a very herbal undertone. We also stopped in a crystal shop—shocker—and got to take in a beautiful sunset.

I am a big fan of including time on trips for some downtime and rest. So we had a little break, and then met up to go to the Swordfish Cocktail Club. You do have to make a reservation by phone in advance, but this place that gives the vibe of a speak easy was super worth it! The club clearly values quality of the drinks they make. Everything was beautifully presented, and the drinks were delicious. Each drink was a work of art—science meets art.

All of the bartenders were great, but Brad, who we garnered was one of the co-owners, wanted to make sure that we had a good experience, and we did. One of the drinks that I had took twenty minutes to make. He placed it in a salt water container, and allowed science to do something fancy.

What resulted was a beautiful frothy beverage (that came with a spoon). When I took my first sip, it felt as though I had been transported to the far East—for an evening under the desert skies. He also taught us about good gin, and after swearing gin off after college, I felt like, I could make a pleasant return.

Probably the best gimlet ever…

We topped the night off with warm milk infused with Brandy, and homemade (at the cocktail club), cookies. Needless to say, I slept really well that night.

The next day we had brunch at Tupelo Honey, literally also right outside of the hotel door. Everything was scrumptious.

One of the trends that emerged during the pandemic that will probably stay is restaurants using QR codes that you can scan to see the menu. I think this will be around even after the pandemic. Of course, everyone does not have a smartphone, so they will always probably have some menus on hand, but this cuts cost, and having to clean down paper/plastic menus.

After brunch we went for a walk/mini hike on the Lake Placid Trail at Paris Mountain State Park. The park was beautiful, lush, and green. I love to be out in nature—there is something peaceful, healing, and soul stirring about seeing greenery, and hearing the natural flow of water. We also drove all the way up the mountain after we walked the trail, but there was limited parking, so we just got the scenic view.

Glammed up for outside…

Afterwards, we explored a bit more of Main Street. This included stopping at one of the many art galleries that are in the city. The one we visited was the artist guild of Greenville. I got two prints, one by a black artist and engineer named John Pendarvis. The other piece was by an artist named Pat Grills. He was actually in the gallery at the time and gave us a tour pointing our pieces by different artist that were really notable. He was a very kind soul, and even signed the print that I bought from him. He taught art and art history for the Greenville County Schools for over 42 years. A few years ago, his students surprised him and his wife with a trip to Europe. He and I talked about some of the travel experiences there, which was super cool. You just never know where you will meet a kind soul.

After our art gallery visit, we stopped at a super cute coffee shop called Coffee Underground. I had an amazing white chocolate beverage and a piece of apple cider pie. We laughed and chatted and then headed back to the hotel for some downtime.

Later we met up with the parents of one of my best friends for a delicious dinner. Nothing beats a good meal and good company! Post dinner we marveled at the beauty of the city at night, went for drinks at a place called Up on the Roof, and laughed and chatted into the night.

On our final day, we had brunch at a place not in the downtown—but worth the drive—called the Fork and Plough.

I really enjoyed my visit to Greenville. I think if you are planning to take a trip during the pandemic—and yes—we are still in it—and even once it ends, it helps to do some research and planning in advance. 

We made reservations at a lot of the places that we went to. This is helpful especially at busy meal hours. 

Also call ahead to make sure that places are actually opened. One of the galleries that we wanted to see seemed like it was open according to Travel Advisor, but Google seemed to indicate that it was closed. When we got there it was permanently closed. 

Also, open your mind to new experiences and sights.

Luggage sculpture in downtown Greenville

These are some of the things that make travel fun—you never know when you might fall in love with a place. Greenville reminded me that Southern Hospitality is a thing. Everyone, everywhere we went were friendly, kind, and helpful. I always felt safe, and I really was pleasantly surprised at how cool the town was. Someone we met at the cocktail club, had grown up in Greenville, and said, “Don’t tell anyone how amazing it is here…” Well, the cat’s out of the bag! Enjoy, and if you ever visit, let me know how you enjoyed it.

Have a beautiful week!

As always, may the stars shine brightly over your week, and if you are enjoying these videos and blog posts, please like, comment, share, and subscribe to my blog and YouTube channel. Have a beautiful and adventurous week!

Blissing out with the Crown 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. After some necessary detours, we have arrived at long last to what would appear to be the final destination on our chakra journey. I say “would appear to be a final destination,” because most people who speak about the crown chakra see the arrival here as a rebirth.

It is in essence as much an ending as it is a beginning. Liz Simpson said, “This is not a destination, but a rebirth, as we prepare for continual unfolding of new experiences.” We will learn a little bit more about why this is in just a bit. See this week’s video here: https://youtu.be/_wczaWoGqUg

In our last conversation on the chakras, we talked about the Ajna, or the Third Eye Chakra. We talked about the type of knowing and wisdom associated with the third eye chakra and how it really comes from having experiences. Embedded in this conversation, was also a conversation about trust and intuition. It makes logical sense for me that after we have gone through learning about ourselves and others, and learning how to open our hearts and minds, and step into our purpose and power, that the next step would be reminiscent of a lesson learned from the comic books. I have often said the quote, “With great power, comes great responsibility.”

Most people attribute it to Uncle Ben from the Spider Man comics, but my trusty friend Wikipedia let me know that, “first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962), in which it is not spoken by any character; instead, it appears in a narrative caption of the comic’s last panel…And a lean, silent figure slowly fades in the gathering darkness, aware at last that in this world, with great power there must also come — great responsibility!”

The original statement was from the 1962 version…

To me, the crown chakra is the enlightenment that comes with knowing that we are powerful beings, but then also being cognizant that we are all connected, and that we are connected, so we should use our power wisely. This is the chakra of enlightenment, consciousness, and connection to the divine. There is a quote that I love that says, “Knowing others is wisdom, but knowing the self is enlightenment.”

Many people in this world believe it or not, are afraid of getting to know themselves deeply. I was like that once, afraid to go deep, afraid of what I might find inside. What I found under some of the stuff that I had to acknowledge that I did not like, were also amazing parts of me waiting to be dusted off. I also don’t know if this is a product of me getting older, but I seem to also care less about certain things that bothered me when I was younger. Call it maturity or growth, I don’t know…but I like it here.

Dust off the treasures within yourself!

If you watched Game of Thrones, you may recall this amazing quote from Tyrion Lannister—one of my favorite characters. He said, “Let me give you some advice. Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like an armor, and it can never be used to hurt you.” I do believe that when you are aware of your whole self—flaws and all, that those things can’t be used to hurt your feelings because you are already aware of them—you have already battled with them, and made peace with them. At any rate, the Crown Chakra is not about battles—it is about the feeling when you have surmounted and transcended all of that. It is about the peace that passes all understanding.

There are some really great quotes about this—enlightenment. Morikei Ueshiba said, “Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow. You are here to realize your inner divinity and manifest your innate enlightenment.”

Eckhart Tolle said, “The word enlightenment conjures up the idea of some superhuman accomplishment, and the ego likes to keep it that way, but it is simply your nature state of felt oneness with being.”

And also, Thich Nhat Hanh said, “Enlightenment is growing all the time. It is not something that happens once and is then complete.” I think this is all important to remember because as humans we complicate a lot of things that could all be very simple. This journey into the crown chakra is one that happens over and over again. Its essence is also something that can be found in the simplest of moments.

The Sanskrit name for the Crown Chakra is “Sahasrara,” and it means “thousandfold.” It is usually pictured as a white lotus with 1000 petals. Each of the other chakras led to this point and to this place. It is said that when we awaken the Crown Chakra, we active Kundalini energy (a conversation for another day). Liz Simpson explains it in this way, “When we awaken the Crown Chakra we are open to the possibilities of infinity of space and time and have the Divine wisdom and understanding with which to reap the benefits. The Sahasrara is elementally linked with cosmic energy and thought-boundless and unrestricted by previous patterns.” Many people have equated this feeling with rapture, bliss, or ecstasy.

When I think about the Crown Chakra, it feels like everything is at peace, and for even a moment, all is right with the world. I sometimes experience this feeling—for example, when taking a walk on the most beautiful of days. The temperature is just right, humidity perfect, breeze just right, and the sunshine, not too hot, but just warm enough to tickle my skin. On these days and in these moments, I feel connected to everything, and yet, I also feel a sense of peace that really passes all understanding.

From a recent walk—perfect weather, breeze, humidity, and sunshine! Bliss

I don’t know what moments for you cause you to feel this, but it is truly worth the work to heal and develop your chakras so that you can feel this. I feel a deep sense of gratitude for these moments especially after a long or stressful day. Life is so cyclical, and we will have a constant stream of experiences. In each of those experiences and in each moment, we can make the decision to utilize the lessons learned from our chakras, and to make decisions that align with the love and desire of our highest selves. I think more of us feel these moments than we even realize. It’s probably that since they aren’t a constant, we don’t always recognize it. In most days we are experiencing the death of something and the rebirth of something else.

Rise from the ashes…

I learned from Mr. Rishi that, the Crown Chakra governs clarity of mind, connection to God, the Divine, and spirit and also to your belief systems. Imbalance causes depression, obsessive and manic thinking, frustration, confusions and you may suffer from dizziness/migraines or brain/nervous disorders. When this chakra is not functioning well you may also feel constant fatigue, no sense of belonging, and you may find it hard to feel connected to others. You may also find it difficult to make decisions. Once balanced you achieve “miracles” in life, experience transcendence, you feel at peace with yourself, you develop a magnetic personality, you experience divine connection and you manifest wealth. The crown chakra resonates with the colors violet, gold, and white.

I believe that when this chakra is in harmony, everything feels blissful and makes sense on a cosmic level. 

So what are some ways to balance the Crown Chakra?

· Meditation to balance the Crown Chakra. Mediation is a super important function of the crown chakra. Spending time in silence is very beneficial to this chakra. Silent meditation is useful, but if you are someone who may need sound, it is useful to remember that each Chakra is also associated with a particular sound. The crown chakra is associated with the sound/mantra AUM. Meditating and chanting to AUM for even a few minutes can be beneficial to helping balance the crown chakra. Listening to 963Hz while meditating is also great—this frequency resonates with the crown chakra. It helps to connect with higher consciousness.

· Crystal Healing. Crystals vibrate with different energies. Helpful crystals crown chakra healing work are crystals that are violet, white, or gold in color. These include: Clear quartz, Herkimer diamond, amethyst, ametrine, selenite, lepidolite, howlite, and tanzanite. Carrying these close to you and placing the gemstones on the area of your crown chakra (top of the head) while lying down can be very beneficial to helping with alignment.

· Colors. Surround yourself with the colors violet, white, and gold. Wear these colors or add some to your décor.

· Foods. The crown chakra focuses more on fasting and detoxing, but also on drinking water. Water is a great detoxifying agent.

· 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/

· Aromatherapy is also great. You could use fragrances like lavender and frankincense.

· Practice your affirmations! Here are a few:

I am a unique, radiant, and loving being.

I am open to the abundance and greatness that the universe offers.

I am divine.

I see the divine in others.

I am connected to all that is.

I remove all limiting thoughts and beliefs.

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 remember that you are divine and see the divine in others. Thank you.

The divine in me bows to the divine in you ❤

Do it for the Gram…(Grandma, that is…)

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! A few months ago, I had the joy and the honor of hosting a very special guest—my mom.

This week, I have another special surprise for all of you. You may have guessed from the title of this week’s blog and video—My grandma. The Jamaican Queen herself! See the video here: https://youtu.be/0rawcaTpY0M

So we are going to have a conversation and I hope that it will leave you feeling inspired, uplifted, and warm inside. In a similar disclaimer, made for when I spoke with mommy, I realize that many of you may not have a good relationship with your mom or grandmother, and you have may already had the experience of losing your grandparents. I am sending you an extra burst of love.

Here we go!

  1.  Celestial Goodness (CG): So grandma, who are you? Beyond the title of mother and grandmother how would you describe yourself?

Grandma: Well, I would describe myself as a loving caring person. And of course, I remember that I was a teacher—a proud graduate of the Shortwood Teacher’s College.

CG: That’s in Jamaica everybody!

Grandma: They say once a teacher, always a teacher. I think everyone is created by the same creator, the divine. No one is better than anyone—some people have better opportunities, and that makes it better and easier for them, but that doesn’t make them better than anyone else. We are all connected. We are all brothers and sisters—children of the universe. I would like to remind everyone of this little gem—of this saying. “Full many a gem of purest ray serene. The dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear: Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, And shed its sweetness on the desert air.” It’s just the opportunity.

CG: Grandma is very poetic by the way….One of the things that she is describing about herself is that she is very poetic, and she writes a lot of poems, herself!

  • CG: So grandma, what is something important that you feel like you learned from your parents and upbringing?

Grandma: There will always be struggle in life, but we should never give up. There is always hope. The darkest part of the night is next to dawn, so when you feel like you are in a dark place, just remember that dawn is coming. If at first, you don’t succeed. Try, try, and try again. Never stop trying…

CG: And never give up.

Grandma: Yes, and never give up. Something we need to remember, God, the creator of the universe and all things, he could have created this world with just one sentence, by speaking. But he took seven days to complete creation, and that is a lesson for all of us to know that we will get there. Never give up. Some things take time.

CG: That is a very wonderful lesson.

Nature reminds us that some things take time…
  • CG: And so, one of the things I would like to know… Please tell me some more about your parents? Maybe some of your favorite memories or something that you would like for me to know?

Grandma: My parents were also kind and loving. They believed that every child was their child and that we are all the same. They taught us to be respectful to the elderly, to love the land, the creation, and to embrace the goodness of the air, the fire, the water, and the earth. They were thankful for the sun also—everything in life is sacred, and we depend on the sun to help give us that energy. Even the tiny plant that is embedded in a seed is precious and we should respect that!

  • CG: So gram, what was the experience like for you leaving your life in Jamaica to come to the United States?

Grandma: Oh, well…that was a journey. That was a journey and it was different. Everything was different. The first visible thing was the climate and the temperature. Jamaica is tropical, and here we have the change of seasons. Especially the winter. At first, I loved the winter, the snow—this white thing coming down. It was the first time that I had ever seen snow. I was glad. I remember my brother said, “Aha, you love it? You wait. You wait. You don’t see anything yet.” And it was true…it was really cold!

The next obvious thing, and this one was kind of sad—was racism. I remember I went into a store to purchase some things, and the employees followed me around in the store. Someone else said to me, maybe because you had your bag over it [arm}, and that is how they do to black people here—they followed us around. It didn’t stop there. Little things kept on happening. They weren’t even subtle, just right open. One day when I was working at a nursing home—the health care center, a nurse, he said to me, “What can your black skin do for you?” he said it, believe me, “what can your black skin do for you?” I said, my black skin makes vitamin D for me, in the presence of sunlight, and I laughed and laughed and laughed. He walked away and never said anything. I never let it bother me. According to our national hero, Marcus Garvey, he said, “the black skin is not a badge of shame, but a symbol of national greatness.” Marcus Mosiah Garvey, that’s our national hero.

CG: One of the things grandma has taught me is to be proud of who I am. Now you are hearing it from her.

Grandma: Another thing that I instill in my children—as a group, Jamaicans as a whole—our blackness, our national pride…although Jamaica was colonized by the British, and they were racist too—it was subtle—they were subtle with it—not all white people are racist—you know, but the British were subtle with it. [In Jamaica] we have a group of people there—the Maroons. I will tell you a little story about the Maroons. Just to let you understand. The British went to Ghana, in the time that they were colonizing, they went to Ghana and they captured these people. They were mostly the Ashanti or the Akan tribes. They took them to Jamaica to be slaves. A little about the Ashanti empire and the Akan empire—are believed to be the same.

CG: Grandma was a teacher, so we are getting a complete history lesson.

Grandma: King Tutu the first, there was a story about the golden stool that was descended from the skies. It was the stool for the kings. I am cutting this short, but the British wanted the golden stool. They [British] went there and started to fight the people so that they could get the stool. They [Ashanti and Akan] fought bravely, but the British had allies—India and some other Africans. The Ashanti and Akan too had allies from different places. There was a queen mother—Yaa Ashantewaa.

Yaa Ashantewaa

She hid the golden stool, and she told her men to make a fake one. They had lots of gold, so they made a fake stool and gave that one to the British to help stop the fighting a little bit. They sent Yaa to a place called the Seychelles. They plundered and robbed, and still didn’t finish taking all the gold. They took the people as slaves to Jamaica. A group of those people [the enslaved]—there was a woman, Nanny, and a man Cudjoe.

Nanny of the Maroons
Cudjoe

They along with the others spoke the same language so they could communicate with each other. When they arrived in Jamaica they ran [escaped] to the hills and formed their own colony. They fought the British. When other slaves got to Jamaica from all over Africa—when they ran away, the Maroons kept them in their camp. They fought until the British had to sign a treaty with them. Those set of free people, they set up their own laws and everything. They kept the culture.

CG: This remains even today.

Grandma: Until today! So the Maroons are said to be the true Jamaicans because the colonizers had killed the Arawaks.

CG: The Arawak were the indigenous people on the island. Jamaica’s actual name is Xaymaca, the Arawak word for “Land of Wood and Water.”

  • Celestial Goodness: What are some of the things that you are most proud of in your life?

Grandma: I am thankful for my children, I wouldn’t say proud, but thankful for my children. I was very excited at the birth of my first granddaughter.

Me the baby, with grandma and Sam

CG: I don’t know who that is…LOL

Grandma: She’s right here. This princess here. And so, I thank God for his blessing towards them, and they are open to receiving those blessings to try and prosper, and to help other people as well.

CG: Very good.

  • CG: What advice do you want to share with your children and grandchildren?

Grandma: Keep moving. Although you are prospering and doing well, there is always room for growth. Never stop. Keep growing. Keep helping. The more you help others, the more blessings you receive. Blessings cannot be too much—it cannot be measured.

Blessings can’t be measured

CG: I love that!

  • CG: I am pretty fortunate that I was able to know all of you—all of my grandparents well. I have learned a lot from everyone, but you have probably helped to shape my life more than any of the others. You have been the most present. You have often encouraged me during difficult times in my life, and you have advised me to look problems right in the face and tackle them head on.  In your own life, what has helped you the most in surmounting life’s obstacles? Do you feel that your outlook and thinking about life and all that comes with it has evolved over the years?

Grandma: Yes, I think so. I think so. But, problems and obstacles are a part of life’s journey. When you fail, or fall, or get disappointed, you keep going. I always say that when I fall, I will not stay down. I will roll until I can get up. I get up, pick myself up and start over again. Things happen, as part of the divine plan and sometimes, some disappointments are God appointments. It’s all in the divine plan. Sometimes people or situations come in your life for a special reason. Sometimes, people come in to accomplish some aspect of life.

CG: They come to help ignite something.

Grandma: Yes, and when that is accomplished, that is a divine act. Either they stay, they depart, or they move on. It’s all a part of the divine plan. We never feel disappointment. Disappointment as I said before is sometimes “God appointment.”

  • CG: So gram, what advice would you give your younger self?

Grandma: Ahhhh…

CG: Just keep rolling.

Grandma: Haha, just keep rolling. Keep rolling, keep loving, keep being kind to others, and that’s it.

CG: I love that.

  • CG: As my grandmother, what about me most reminds you of yourself?

Grandma: Ahhhhh, your honesty, your laugh. Your love of nature, and you love to travel. I’ve traveled to five different countries.

CG: I remember, you are the great adventurer.

  1. CG: I think that you are a very brave person. Tell me about one of your favorite adventures?

Grandma: The first adventure was when I boarded the plane for the first time. I think everyone has that excited, and I boarded the plane and went to the Grand Cayman.

CG: I love that.

  1. CG: Is there anything that you regret not doing?

Grandma: Well no. I believe in divine intervention, and all that happens is part of the divine plan, and for the greater good.

CG: Well you heard it from her yourself.

  1. CG: You have seen some major moments in history—for Jamaica, for the United States, and for the world. What are some of your most memorable historic moments in life? I believe that you saw the moment when Jamaica became independent?

Grandma: Yes. It was a great moment, and I feel great, everyone was happy. You might think this strange or unusual, but although I was happy, and like the rest of Jamaicans, glad for our independence and such, but what I felt most, was the time when President Obama signed the Marriage Act, and then again after the Supreme Court upheld it. I remember the White House was painted in all the colors of the rainbow. I felt that joy because before that, I saw horror.

The horror of hate, and not just only to black people—the horror of hate among whites and of hate among other group of people. And [also] those who were gay or just trying to be themselves. I have seen children trying to take their own lives, children being sent to therapy to change who they are, and it was really really horrifying. I could relate to that because many of our ancestors endured the horror [of hate]. I wrote about it in one of my poems, and if you don’t mind you can read a part here.

CG: So grandma’s poetry book. “Poems by Mount Humble.”

Grandma: So you don’t have to read all of it, but this is how many people who are [LGBTQ] feel. [The feeling of persecution and judgment]. This is explaining how they felt, and this is where their fate was “too abominable.” I remember my ancestors; the black people being persecuted. Their fate was too abominable. “As they hung for all to see.” That was lynching. “They did not get a wooden cross, instead they got a tree. And as they hung and in agony and in pain, their hearts reflected on Jesus who suffered thus the same. Each drop of tear upon the Earth, in splendor grew tall trees [their ancestors and off spring], each drop of blood vaporized, then fell on rivers and seas. The seas took them round the globe with glorious glee they went, bright rays of sun descended, and they were back to heaven sent.” This is saying, and now alas the radiant sun which shines their offspring bright. This is referring to when President Obama signed the Marriage Act. Magnificently he, the silent sword—the pen with the other hand did write. Goodwill and freedom for us all, and yet there is a fight. We all forgive, we do love still, and bid you do what’s right. So even though there are [some who hate] and persecute us and do terrible things, we still love them. The creator said you aren’t supposed to hate. They are killing us every day; we see that right now. So, we still have a lot of work to do. We cannot follow them down the path of hate.

CG: Good. Grandma teaches us to embrace everyone, and allow people to be themselves, and allow people to live in the way that is you know—as long as we aren’t harming other people, we are letting people be their authentic selves.

  1. CG: What are some things that you are grateful for? What are some of the biggest lessons that you learned in life?

Grandma: Well, I am grateful for good health.

CG: Grandma is in good health, I mean look at her.

Grandma: I am grateful for my children, my surroundings, for wisdom. I am grateful for the younger generation, who I see—they are not sitting down. I am grateful for the knowledge that they have and they are using it up. There is hope for mankind through the younger generation. There is hope for a better world.

CG: This past week was Earth Day, and I have seen so many people making an effort to take care of the Earth and the climate, so that is really great too.

  1. CG: What is your hope for your children? What is your hope for your grandchildren? What is your hope for the world?

Grandma: That my children and grandchildren may continue on the path that they are…and you know, world peace. I would love to see peace all over the world.

  1. CG: Very good grandma, and Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Grandma: We need balance, whatever in life that we do, we need balance. We have to respect the Earth, and learn to heal ourselves. We can heal ourselves, and learn from our mistakes.

Thank you, Grandma, that was very insightful. I really love and appreciate you.

Thank you to everyone for joining Gram and I as we have this conversation. I hope that you may also feel inspired to talk to your loved ones about their life, you may learn some interesting things. May the stars shine brightly over your week, and may it be an amazing one. Thank you as always! Have a wonderful week!

Grandma wants you to have a good week!

Taking some time to rest this weekend!

Hello beautiful people!

I hope you all had an amazing week. On Friday I got my second vaccine 💉 dose.

Vaccine outfit lol 😝 🍊🍑🧡

I feel relieved and hopeful about whatever is to come. I am excited to give hugs and to travel again…

This weekend however I made the executive decision to rest, rest, and more rest. So no video this week!

I’ve slept a lot and been drinking my water.

I also got to have a yummy dinner with some friends!

Southern Fried Green Tomatoes ✨👌🏾

I feel pretty good since the vaccine… I know my cells are hard at work, but as I say… it’s the simple things that add up to big things. Hope you are resting as well and hydrating Rest makes a big difference in my life and allows me to do more of what I love.

💓✨ I’ll be back soon with more uplifting content and a special special guest 🤗💓✨🤩 Have a wonderful week ahead! May the stars shine ever so brightly over your week.

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!