Hello beautiful people and welcome to this dose of Celestial Goodness. As always, thank you for joining me in this space and on this journey. It has been about two months since I posted anything, so if you are still here, thank you. You can see this week’s video here: https://youtu.be/dq4oa6sziRk
Thank you for your patience, and for understanding the ebbs and flow that come along with creating, writing, thinking deeply about life and everything that comes along with that.
Thank you for understanding that as a human being, living, working, experiencing the range of emotions, feelings, and situations that one can, that life has felt as though it were both moving at an accelerated pace, and also moving slowly, and I thank you just for understanding the need that we have as humans to take breaks from the things that we feel deeply passionate about, so that we can come back to it, more devoted, more focused, and more inspired.
I feel everything so deeply, and there are so many things to absorb myself in these days, that with only one of me, and not being “artificial intelligence,” I have to make decisions on what gets done. The natural hierarchy is for the things that allow me to take care of myself, and to live, but in the last many weeks, I have also invested a lot of time and energy into my various communities.
For the last few years, the notion of community has been at the forefront of my mind. What is it? Who is it? What makes a strong and healthy community? How do we create community? Nurture it? Allow it to grow organically and to be what it needs to be at a time such as this?
Recently, I went to dinner with some dear friends, and one of them said to me, “Where is Celestial Goodness… you need to pop in…” We laughed, but it meant a lot to me. When I had the vision for this blog and channel, it was with the notion that we would be a community. That this would be a safe space, a sacred space for love, joy, peace, and endless reminders of the beauty in life, and the importance of your presence here. The Celestial Goodness community, is one that I am dedicated to as well, and it means a lot that you have spent your time here.
Now, if you were to look up the definition for the work “community,” lots of things would pop up. One of the definitions that I like says, “a feeling of fellowship with others as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” It sort of makes me think of Lord of the Rings, or any epic journey where someone is fighting for the good of mankind. The lesson is always that we can’t do it alone, we can’t go it alone. Even for those people out there who are fiercely independent and like to be alone for the most part, ultimately you still need people.
Community can also be the sharing of a physical space, a spiritual place, or even an emotional space. For me, community is about people, no matter where I am. There are many dimensions to me, many aspects of my life, and the people who I cross paths with matter. My community matters, my dear friends and family matter very much. I never view an encounter with someone as random or coincidental. We have either met for a lesson, a blessing, season, or lifetime as the old saying goes. It is also my view that you can meet someone for even a brief moment who could have a profound impact on your life.
So, my last many weeks have been filled with community. I have been communing with, attending to, and tending to the communities that I am a part of. The take away is that I am immensely blessed to know some of the world’s best people, and the way we have all been able to pour into each other has been a beautiful thing indeed.
Where my family is from in Jamaica, is the kind of place where everyone knew everyone…someone could look at you and know who your parents or grandparents were. When my family moved to America, there was a lonelier aspect to it because we didn’t know all of the people around us. As a matter of fact, it can get weird if you are the weirdo from the Midwest, making eye contact and saying hello to people everywhere you go. Ha. I won’t stop.
I am reminded that when I went to visit my cousin in Bermuda, people expect whole conversations in passing. I would just say good morning. One day, Toya turned to me and said, “You have to make eye contact with people. Here everyone says more than just good morning.” I said, “I am a nice person, I swear.
I think the city life just made me more don’t make eye contact, and mind your business.” I do feel that people especially after the global pandemic, are starved for human connectivity. We want to know the neighbors (and shout out to my own very cool neighbors), we want to talk to people, hear their stories, and know how their day went. We want to feel as though we are part of something bigger than ourselves, and we are. Please don’t forget this.
Wherever I go, I tend to collect people, and we make a community for ourselves. I like the shared bond that we have as people occupying similar spaces. So here is my directive to you—think about your people, the people that fill you with the most love, care, and that help you to be your most authentic and joyful self. Think about the spaces where you can be, just be, where you can flow, and thrive and know that you belong. Now think about how you can make more spaces like that. How can you create community where you are? How can you show up for your people? How can you expand the communities that you are in?
In the last weeks, I have spent an abundance of time with some of the best people. We have laughed, cried, discussed serious things, and silly things like the endless reels on Instagram. I have come up close and personal with death, but I have also seen babies coming into the world, ready to express whatever little personalities they will grow into. I have had intimate conversations with people who trust me to safeguard dreams, goals, desires, and vision. I have also been reminded, when faced with my own anxieties, sadness, or angst that there are kindred souls who will show up for me too. In an article I read in the NYC some months ago, it said that people who tended to their relationships with others, lived longer happier lives. It feels sometimes like we don’t have much to offer to this, but committing to our community isn’t always a big endeavor. The article said, start scheduling 8 minute calls with your friends. Tell them, this will be eight minutes, and set a timer. Just start making and tending to the connections in your life.
Poet John Donne said this, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of they friends’ or of thine own were. Any man`s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”I am involved in mankind. We all are.
I hope that wherever this week finds you, that you will take a moment to think about the communities that you are in. What do you love? What makes you feel gratitude? Is there anything you want to change? Is there anything you want to do more of? Who are the people that help you do this life thing? Shout out to them, right?!? And a special shout out to my people—my community, my friends, my family, who inspire me every day with love, with realness, with genuine care for me—the real me. I appreciate you immensely. May the stars shine brightly over your week, and may it be a beautiful week indeed
Hello beautiful people and welcome to this dose of Celestial Goodness. As always, thank you for joining me in this space and on this journey. I appreciate your time and your presence. See this week’s video here: https://youtu.be/E5otfDvznZQ
How are you doing? Well—I hope that all is well with your heart, mind, soul, and body. There is an old hymn that someone in my family used to listen to, and these lines have stayed in my mind. “When peace like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to know, it is well, it is well, with my soul.”
And so before I get into our main topic, I wanted us to just check in with ourselves. How is your heart? Is it well? How is your mind? Are you overthinking or is your mind calm? How is your spirit? Settled or unsettled? How is your physical body? At this very moment, how are you? Are you tense? Unclench your jaw. Think about your favorite person in the world—I hope that brought a smile to your heart. Think about the most beautiful thing that you have ever seen? Maybe you thought of many things, but those two things—favorite person, and beautiful thing can almost immediately help to shift a mood.
We must check in with ourselves, the body is so wise, and can tell us so much. Of course, it is on us to listen, and then to take action. Sometimes the action is no action—to rest, or be in stillness. In our society today, we talk a lot about mindfulness and about “being present.” There is so much going on and so much of it feels like a constant assault to our nervous system, that it is more important than ever to keep ourselves grounded, centered, and steady in our body and soul. The founder of Headspace, Andy Puddicombe said, “The biggest gift we can each give ourselves is the gift of being present — engaged with life, connected with each other, listening with kindness, staying open-minded, free from judgment.”
There are many ways of accomplishing this, but I would say that two of the easiest ways are to check in with ourselves, ask those questions, and bring our focus to this moment through breath. Sometimes just breathing deeply brings us into the conscious awareness that we are here now—not in the past and not in the future. Going too far in either direction can create anxiety and a lot of unnecessary stress. (Disclaimer: this is not meant to minimize anyone’s deep trauma, and if that is your reality, I am a huge advocate of seeking professional help for that).
As a recovering overthinker—and not fully recovered yet, sometimes I get in my own head and I need a reminder to just come back to the present moment and center myself. I am thankful to have some lovely people around me to remind me of the tools at my disposal for staying present. My cousin, my sister—the OG edgesnatcher, and some of my closest friends remind me when I forget. Granted they all have their different methods of reminding me lol, laughter, sage words, memes, but my cousin has been known to call me (internationally mind you), and actually breathe with me. Once I was crying so hard (I am a water bucket after all ), and she just said, “it’s okay honey, breathe with me.”
There are things that we can do to help calm our own nervous system—we can help ourselves to find our way back to the present moment. Fun fact, when I teach my university students the art of negotiations, one of the things that I remind them is that they should pay attention to their breathing. If they catch themselves doing small, shallow breaths, they should consider a small break to just refocus their breathing. It has been proven that making decisions when your nerves are frayed is no bueno. You are more inclined to make poor decisions.
So we are going to just breathe together for a moment. If you are reading the blog, then I would encourage you to just take in a handful of deep but comfortable breaths. Do what is called “diaphragmatic breathing.” Sit or lie in a comfortable place. Place one hand on your chest—preferably over your heart chakra, and place one hand on your abdomen. Inhale through your nose for 4 seconds, hold for 2 seconds, and then exhale for 6 seconds—slowly and steadily through your mouth. Breathe up from your diaphragm.
Once I have my breathing down, I like to include a small mantra. Some good ones are, “I am safe,” “I am supported,” “I am at peace,” “I am love.”
When I am done, I like to just thank my heart—at that point I can generally feel it beating and that too is a reminder—once we are alive, there is so much hope, there is so much potential for love, beauty, joy, and peace. From a centered place, we are agents of these things—we are as Paulo Coehlo would say, warriors of light. “The Warrior of the Light is a believer. Because he believes in miracles, miracles begin to happen. Because he is sure that his thoughts can change his life, his life begins to change. Because he is certain that he will find love, love appears.” We are never sure if or when these things will happen—the various things that we want for our future—we just trust that they will or that if they don’t, we can still be at peace. As we take action by living each day, putting out the intention for what we desire, listening to the guidance that we receive on next steps, and staying present, we realize one day that this is the journey, and that it is constantly unfolding each day before us.
I am sure that I have spoken before about the topics of patience, trust, flow, and navigating the unknown, but these are always good topics to come back to, especially when they have been on my own mind heavily. I would not consider myself a patient person naturally, that is something that I have been learning over time. I do think that the concept of trust is tied into patience. How do I stay in the flow of my life, especially when the things that I think I want have not yet appeared. How can I trust that what I desire, or rather what I want and need will come to me? I have been known to give the advice to others that we know not the hour of our own good fortune. Maybe we must wait another day, week, month, year or years, but the journey really is the destination, and we don’t give up just because it hasn’t happened when we might want it to. So many people in the world believe in things that they cannot see. We believe until we see. How can we savor whatever phase and space we are in at the moment while also keeping our heart and mind open to what lies before us?
I was not always a morning person—I used to prefer to stay up late, a certified night owl if you will, but in my adulting life, I have become a morning person. It does not matter what time I go to sleep, I will probably wake up before my alarm and before the sunrise. This is surprisingly ok with me because I have grown to relish that time—the quiet hours before the majority of the world is awake. In that quiet time, everything feels so peaceful, and the potential of a new day lays out before me.
One of my favorite parts of the early morning is watching the new day come in. From my living room and office, I have a wonderful view of the East. As a connoisseur of greeting the day, I have learned that every sunrise is different; some come in slowly without much fanfare or colors, sometimes it is raining or cloudy, but light will eventually peak in, and those dark blue/grey days are also quite beautiful. Some sunrises come in and they are simply magnificent to behold. I cannot look away—because if I do, I might miss some of the splendor, the vibrancy of the colors, the way each looks like a painting meant just for me.
There is also a certain speed to which the sunrise (and sunsets) happen. It all happens very quickly in the grand scheme of things, but yet if you are watching, each moment feels like a beautiful eternity watching a masterpiece unfold. I may not be sure of a lot of things in my life at the moment of a sunrise, but I can always be sure that morning will come. I can trust in that, even when I have to be patient for the sun. I cannot rush the sun. It moves at its own pace, but when it comes, it shines brightly. Insert, “Here comes the sun, doo-doo-doo-doo… it’s alright…,” here!
There is also something comforting about this process. In those moments of stillness, of silence, just appreciating nature, something happens to my spirit. I notice that when I ease into the day, I don’t feel the anxiety of all the things that need to get done, or worry about some of the things that I carried into the dreamworld with me. That act of being present to watch the sunrise, makes me feel more centered, more empowered to handle the uncertainties of the day. It is also a huge reminder and lesson in patience and trust. I have patience for the sunrise, and I trust that morning always comes. I can do the same for other things in my life.
Rainer Maria Rilke said, ““Were it possible for us to see further than our knowledge reaches, and yet a little way beyond the outworks of our divining’s, perhaps we would endure our sadness’s with greater confidence than our joys. For they are the moments when something new has entered into us, something unknown; our feelings grow mute in shy perplexity, everything in us withdraws, a stillness comes, and the new, which no one knows, stands in the midst of it and is silent.” Every day contains the potential for miracles.
Paulo Coelho also said, “The only trap I must beware not to fall into, is to think that each day is the same as the next. In fact, each morning brings with it a hidden miracle, and we must pay attention to this miracle.”
Life is filled with a lot of unknowns. How we approach navigating the unfolding can make life heaven or hell. Being in the flow of life, trusting that whatever comes we will be able to handle it, and being able to see the miracles of life are all beneficial tools for helping to cultivate trust in the future. Being present, breathing, living, loving, laughing, and trusting are so helpful right now. There is a lot going on in the world and it can be overwhelming.
I encourage you to take even one moment to appreciate the beauty that is still abundant, especially in nature. Appreciate the people around you, and trust—even when things feel hard—that life is supporting you endlessly. I hope that the stars shine brightly over your week, that it is a beautiful week indeed, and that you allow life to surprise you with delightful things and experiences.
If you do ever feel overwhelmed, just remember me saying—like my cousin, “its ok honey, just breathe with me…” or like my sister, “it’s ok sweetie, you’re doing great.” I venture to say that things are better than you might even realize—the not great stuff has a way of taking over everything else, so we have to fight a little harder to see what is working, what is going well, and how some of what we used to worry about has actually worked out! You got this, and I believe in you!
Hello beautiful people and welcome to this dose of Celestial Goodness. As always, thank you for joining me in this space and on this journey. I appreciate your time and your presence. I was going to make a posting two weeks ago about the beginning of the Lunar New Year, but things have been a little bit busy. That being said, I think it is an important part of this 2023 energy, and so we will have two topics for this dose of Celestial Goodness. See this week’s video here: https://youtu.be/DVsRxbfuY4E
I actually wrote up a short article for our newsletter at work, so some of this is adapted from that. While much of the world celebrated New Year’s Day on January 1st, thanks to the Gregorian calendar, there are many people in the world who abide by different calendars and thus different New Years. If you have been following my channel or blog for a while, you may have heard me mention that some of my best friends from college are Asian, and over the years, I have gained some exposure to different cultural practices.
It was in this way, that I learned that there are different cultures and religions that use a lunar calendar or a lunisolar calendar to celebrate a new year. With these calendars, the months are observed by the cycles of the moon. In the East Asian cultural sphere some of the Lunar New Year celebrations for this year began on January 22nd, 2023. (There are some that will begin on February 20th). The date of January 22nd is because the New Year begins with the first new moon of January and last until the next full moon. Sunday, February 5th marks the full moon and the end of the new year celebrations. Most lunar celebrations are filled with beautiful celebrations, delicious foods, and cultural traditions that go back for thousands of years. For example, I learned from Melody that in Chinese culture, red envelops are given during special occasions and holidays. The color red symbolizes energy, happiness, and good luck. Wrapping money in red paper is expected to bestow more happiness and blessings.
I also learned that the number 8 was considered to be the luckiest number because it is associated with wealth and prosperity. Having friends from a wide range of the Asian diaspora taught me that while a lot of people say, “Chinese New Year,” that “Lunar New Year,” is more accurate since while there are similarities, there are also major differences in the celebration of the holiday across the region. The most important part of the holiday for everyone, however, is spending time with family and friends. This year will usher out the year of the Tiger, and we will welcome the Year of the Rabbit.
I have found through my own astrological studies that the Eastern Zodiac lines up very well with one’s Jupiter placement in Western Astrology. In the Eastern Zodiac, the zodiac wheel consists of 12 animals. The 12 zodiac animals are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. (Please note that in some countries, like Vietnam, you will find that this is the year of the cat—in place of the rabbit).
In addition to the animals, five elements of earth, water, fire, wood and metal are also mapped onto the traditional lunar calendar. Each year is associated with an animal that corresponds to an element.
The Rabbit is said to be the luckiest sign of the zodiac, and this year’s element of water is said to promote calm and smoothness, so hopefully we may all have a wonderful and peaceful year. To sum up, one of my horoscope apps said this, “2023—the year of the Water Rabbit. Drumroll please, you are about to enter a year filled with magic. As if making an appearance directly out of a magician’s hat, 2023 will cast a spell on you, and it is just what the world needs right now…The Rabbit is considered the luckiest sign of the zodiac, and for many people, this will be the ongoing theme of 2023. Many of you will experience stretches of luck that can’t be explained and can be surprising. Others may experience situations that seem anything but lucky, and yet, with the undercurrent beneath these experiences, you will see that they were carrying you to places that were indeed auspicious. That’s why it is so important this year—and all the time, really—to always assume the best. Just because something that happens in your life appears to be unfortunate or undesirable at the time does not preclude it from bringing something unexpectedly wonderful into your life…this is a year for cultivating inner peace and harmony, as well as fostering connections with others….Let us strive to make the most of this auspicious year by focusing on inner peace and harmony and by supporting and uplifting one another.” I think that is a beautiful approach to this lunar new year.
Speaking of support and uplifting vibes, the next topic of discussion was inspired by one of my most supportive and uplifting friends. A few weeks ago, my friend Notoya took me to brunch.
She is a Jamaican queen, one of the hardest working people that I know, bold, courageous, and when she knows what she wants, she goes for it. As the Roman poet Virgil said, “Audentes fortuna juvat,” or rather “Fortune favors the bold.” I hope that fortune will always favor her. My heart felt uplifted and renewed by our conversation. You know that spending time with some people is truly like feeling the sunshine pour into all of your nooks and crannies. As we were discussing life and laughing away, one of the things she leaned in and asked me was, “Do you have space in your life for the things that you want?” It made me pause.
Did I have space in my life for the things that I desire at this juncture of my life? I didn’t know—I had to take stock, of this and since then, it has been a constant on my mind. She said to me, “clear away the old things that are taking up energy…” she meant the unused things, the things that represented an old chapter of my life, and things that I needed to let go of. She also said, and this is something that my mom has also asked me—do you have space in your actual space and calendar for love, for adventure, for peace, and for joy? Is there room for another person? Have you made time in your calendar for these things? You mean someone couldn’t fit in next to my plants (which are looking amazing by the way)? Notoya asked if there was room in my closet for someone else’s clothes—hahaha, that made me laugh cause my friends know how much I love clothes—the sparklier, the better. I got what she was saying, and it really did make me think.
The O street mansion flashed across my mind. Ever since my visit to the O Street Mansion—a beautiful home, (you can visit if you are in the DC area), to be sure, but it also gave me high anxiety because they had never thrown anything away—it was truly a hoarder’s dream come to life. There were many treasures, but I also felt overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of things everywhere. I have analyzed whether I have something because I truly need it, or if it is because it is satisfying some deeper underlying issue.
I gave Marie Kondo a hard time when she first came out, primarily because of the debate about books and whether they give us joy. Yes my books give me great joy, so it is admittedly hard for me to let go of books. also have two magazine subscriptions and so I have a pile of magazines that I will soon release to vision boarding.
When I was little, a fresh immigrant to Wisconsin, it dawned on me that we were poor in terms of a lack of resources. My mom and aunt worked as hard as they could, but the reality was that there were things that I had to do without. I think that created a dynamic later where if I had something I kept it, or I got other things—maybe things in bulk just in case. However, I am cognizant that is also a lack mentality, and a fear of running out and being without. I don’t do that anymore, and I like my space to feel spacious, airy, and uncluttered. A few years ago when I was moving a friend came by to help me pack, and he was like “why do you need 100 store plastic bags.” Sirrrrrr, that is a black person tradition—those grocery bags serve multiple purposes, but I did think—will I ever use all these bags? Probably not. Sometimes you need another person who is not as invested in the stuff as you are to help you let go. My younger sister is ruthless when it comes to getting rid of things. Her philosophy is one thing in, then one thing out. I know everyone is different, and you may be holding on to certain things for reasons only known to you. But I do wonder and must ask the question—by holding on to things that you do no longer need, or that carry no true sentimental value, what are you blocking from entering your world? Where in your life could benefit from making some room and some space? What is it that you even want for your life?
Here are some things to think about. What are the things that you are no longer using? What are broken things or things that have holes in them? Do you have any plants that have died or that are unable to be nursed back to health? Old papers (FYI—Office Depot and Staples will shred I think it is 3 pounds of papers free, and then I think it is less than 99 cents per pound after that)? Old pictures and memorabilia of old relationships? Clothes and shoes that you don’t wear or plan to wear ever again?
These are just a few things to think about. Celestial Goodness is a judgment free zone. I noticed that when I got rid of some things, that I did feel better. My mood greatly improved clearing out stagnant energy. This is also true for the digital world. I saw somewhere that someone asked the questions—Why am I saving this? How will I feel if I release it?
You might not know what to do with the things. Remember that one man’s junk is another’s treasure. You can donate things, sell things, give gifts, or trash stuff. The world is not easy for a lot of people, and your old, unused items could be a blessing for someone else. I think as a society, we also don’t realize how much stuff we have until maybe it is time to move, or someone passed away and we have to reconcile their life in things. I made a vow several years ago, that I would not put things in an official storage unit because I would probably never use those things again and I would just be spending the money to store things that I probably could have repurposed. Again, everyone has their reasons for holding on to things, but if you ask yourself the questions—what do I want for my life, and is there currently space for it, you might be very surprised.
There might be things that you can let go of. Mommy always kinds of rolls her eyes when I tell this story, but I think it is an important one. For years, she wanted a particular vehicle—but for years she was holding on to her old minivan. At one point I told her it would probably cost more to fix the minivan than to just get a new vehicle. The minivan eventually stopped working properly (cue safety hazard), and sat in our family’s garage for a while just taking up space. I did what any oldest child who wanted to see her mother manifest something better for herself would do… I called the Purple Heart Foundation and scheduled for them to do a midday pick up. They yoinked that van so fast. Insert diabolical chuckle here. Mommy was of course horrified, and perhaps a little upset, but they say if you want a new vehicle, and there is an old vehicle taking up room in the garage, then there is no space for the new vehicle. Once the old van was gone, it wasn’t long before she was in her actual dream car.
This is an analogy for life—if we want the things that we say we want, then we must make space for them. I hope that this makes you think, makes you analyze whether you have things that you can let go of. Make physical and energetic space because it is the year of the Rabbit—a lucky year, and you just never know what life is waiting to surprise you with—of course, if you have the space for your blessings. Make space for your blessings. May it be an auspicious time for all of us, and may the stars shine brightly over your week. May it be a beautiful week indeed.
Hello beautiful people and welcome to this dose of Celestial Goodness. As always, thank you for joining me in this space and on this journey. I appreciate your time and presence. See this week’s video here: https://youtu.be/2iaohpcVKMk
In making the decision to ease into this new year, I did something a little unusual for me. I prescheduled downtime for myself. Insert audible gasp here. This included time for reading, resting, and for listening to my own heart.
Yes, that is correct—I scheduled time to intentionally listen to my heart. Listening to one’s heart is not something that I feel like modern society encourages. In fact, I think we are more encouraged to follow the mind—to be logical, practice, and reasonable.
In law school, there was much mention of “the reasonable man.”
According to Justia, this is a phrase, “used to denote a hypothetical person who exercises qualities of attention, knowledge, intelligence, and judgment that society requires of its members for the protection of their own interest and the interest of others.” There is a certain amount of caution that this person takes, and then they behave sensibly according to the standards of society. This generally leans towards the logical and the rational.
The logical and rational are within the jurisdiction of the mind. The heart however, is more emotional, and seen as sometimes irrational. The heart is usually more willing to take risks that the mind won’t take. The domain of the heart is love. Sometimes the heart and the mind are in conflict. When they are, often we are encouraged to make the common sense choice, and follow the mind. I have found that the mind can lead to overthinking, which can lead to anxiety, and which can lead to sadness because ultimately we did not follow the heart.
This can express itself with everything from relationships, to career paths, to heck, almost anything. I am of the mindset that we should let love lead our actions—that the mind should bow to the wisdom of the heart…and yet, how many of us know with certainty what it is that our heart is trying to tell us? How will we know if we don’t ever make time to listen to what it has to say?
A quote by Jack Kornfield which I came across in Bell Hooks seminal book, “All About Love: New Visions,” says, “It is possible to speak with our heart directly. Most ancient cultures know this. We can actually converse with our heart as if we were a good friend. In modern life, we have become so busy with our daily affairs and thoughts that we have lost this essential art of taking time to converse with our heart.” So I say, “what says you heart?”
If you have been listening to this channel or reading my blog long enough you may know of my longstanding love of Paulo Coelho books, and The Alchemist especially, which is probably my favorite book of all time.
There is also mention of listening to the heart there as well. “Why do we have to listen to our hearts?” the boy asked, when they had made camp that day. “Because, wherever your heart is, that is where you’ll find your treasure.” “But my heart is agitated,” the boy said. “It has its dreams, it gets emotional, and it’s become passionate over a woman of the dessert. It asks things of me, and it keeps me from sleeping many nights when I’m thinking about her.” “Well, that’s good. Your heart is alive. Keep listening to what it has to say.”
When I made the decision to ease into 2023, as I mentioned before, I did something that was out of the ordinary for my normal extroverted self. I blocked off two weeks where my calendar said, “Do Not Plan Anything.” This is a big deal for me because I am generally always out and about, with some “downtime” which usually comes when I start to feel burnout. Then my friends will gently say, “Ma’am, it might be time for some downtime.” Hahaha. I savor life, and I love to soak up every minute of it, but I am learning through the wisdom of my own heart, that sometimes for me, this includes “hermit time.”
That is time spent in solitude, resting, reflecting, and talking to myself—I mean when we need expert advice on our life—we should talk to ourselves hahaha. I joked to one of my friends recently that I was enjoying my downtime so much, that I could probably become a hermit easily. Her response was a resounding, “Yea, no, I give you three days alone by yourself max before we call in reinforcements to get you to leave the house.” That was funny, because I do thrive on my time with my friends and family, so point taken, there has to be a balance.
The last year ended and this year began on a Mercury retrograde in the sign of Capricorn, a sign that has heavy influence in my natal chart. My own Mercury placement is in Capricorn, and so the energy was ripe for slowing down, reflecting, and finding some time to refresh my spirit.
So much happened last year, and so much happened all at once it felt like sometimes I could not catch my breath; I don’t think I had much time to process. I like to “process,” “excavate,” and see what if any lessons there were to learn from situations and experiences that pop up in my life.
I probably could have been an archaeology major easily lol, but since that wasn’t my path, I have to be the archaeologist of my own life. While some things will and should remain buried away, when we can look objectively at life—at our own life, there is opportunity for growth. Maybe there were situations in which I could have reacted differently, maybe there are places in my life where I need to be more proactive, or maybe there are still things that I am learning—like about patience for example. I decided to take some intentional time for this process of reflecting.
Intentionality has become very important to me, and it was with this in mind that I sat down, drafted up a vision for the future from this point, and came up with my “word,” for this year. For the past several years, I have selected a word that helps to anchor me to a particular goal or intention for that year. Some examples have been, “flow,” “balance,” “abundance,” and “fun.” This year, my word is devotion. I also have a word for this decade of my life, and that one is more private and personal, but it feels delicious to my spirit. This year’s word is “devotion.”
I wrote a short snippet about it on social media. I said, “This year’s word is devotion. Devotion to my heart, to love, to joy, to the joy of living, to beauty, to kindness, to my own well-being—physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. It is also devotion to my enjoyment, to my quirks, and to my tribe. Devotion is my anchor word. It signifies love, loyalty, and enthusiasm.” I was on a walk through the park when I thought about this more deeply. What does devotion to love and to life even like to me? What was love even?
Whenever I have a deep question, a book with answers will always find me. In this case, as I was dusting one of my bookshelves, my copy of “All About Love,” by Bell Hooks, fell on my toe.
That’s a sure sign that it wasn’t so accidental. There are so many good parts to this book—which is a love letter in it of itself to remaining hopeful about love in a cynical world. One of the passages says, “Love redeems. Despite all the lovelessness that surrounds us, nothing has been able to block our longing for love, the intensity of our yearning. The understanding that love redeems appears to be a resilient aspect of the heart’s knowledge. The healing power of redemptive love lures us and calls us towards the possibility of healing. We cannot account for the presence of the heart’s knowledge. Like all great mysteries, we are all mysteriously called to love no matter the conditions of our lives, the degree of our depravity or despair. The persistence of this call gives us reason to hope. Without hope, we cannot return to love. Breaking our sense of isolation and opening up the window of opportunity, hope provides us with a reason to go forward. It is a practice of positive thinking. Being positive, living in a permanent state of hopefulness, renews the spirit. Renewing our faith in love’s promise, hope is our covenant. I began thinking and writing about love when I heard cynicism instead of hope in the voices of young and old. Cynicism is the greatest barrier to love. It is rooted in doubt and despair. Fear intensifies our doubt. It paralyzes. Faith and hope allow us to let fear go. Fear stands in the way of love…When we love, we no longer allow our hearts to be held captive by fear.”
This echoes beautifully what Marianne Williamson said in “A Return to Love, Reflections on A Course in Miracles.” She said, “Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we have learned here. The spiritual journey is the relinquishing or unlearning of fear and the acceptance of love back into our hearts. Love is the essential existential fact. It is our ultimate reality, and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience it in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life.” In devotion to love, and to life, I am cognizant that will require vulnerability. It also feels like we have become a society of people who are afraid in some sense to be vulnerable with each other, to go beneath the surface, and to allow others to see the things that even frighten us about ourselves. Yet, it is diving deeply and being vulnerable where the true opportunity for meaningful connections lie.
As Brene Brown said, “We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection. Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves. Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.”
I do not yet know how the intentional selection of a word like “devotion,” and adding in vulnerability and love to that equation will unfold over this year. I think it will offer some beautiful moments, some lovely conversations with people and with myself, and will offer some deeply meaningful experiences rooted in the tenderness, the loveliness, and the joy that is also inherent in life. It is work though. In all of the aforementioned works, there has also been mention of acknowledging where we have a wounding, and thinking about how we can heal the wound so that we can experience life from a more joyous place. (I acknowledge fully that some trauma is very intense, and I will always advocate for therapy and anything that helps people to take care of their entire wellbeing).
In another post, I will talk about the wounds we carry and make an astrological connection (of course) to Chiron, the wounded healer.
We will discuss how wounds also appear in our natal chart, and once we learn how to overcome those wounds, how our own tests can often become a testimony for others. Where was our first wounding? Where was our first conscious recollection of love? Life does not come with a manual for living or for loving. There are things we learn along the way, whether for the good or for the bad. If ever we are to devote ourselves to love, then those questions are also important elements to the equation. I have asked myself where was my first abandonment, what are the wounds of my inner child, and how can I let her know that we grew up and we are okay now, so we don’t have to react with anything but love? How do I console her when she is triggered and frightened? How do I soothe her into realizing that we don’t have to react in old ways to new situations. I don’t have all of those answers, these are just things to think about. For now, I wonder—do you have a word for this year? Do you ever listen to the sound of your own heart? Are you someone who is more led by the mind? There are no right or wrong answers to these questions.
As I think about how I want the year and quite frankly, the rest of my own life to unfold, I know that I want my mind and heart to be able to co-create together. I want my mind to bow to the wisdom of the great mysteries of the heart. I want my heart to appreciate that the mind wants to offer its protection, so as to minimize hurt, but to recognize that hurt is an inherent risk when we make a decision to reveal ourselves fully. Despite that, there is still life after hurt.
I want to listen to the soul of the world, and to my own heart, and then take action from that point and place. Regardless of what happens, I want to exude love as my natural state of being. I want to embody love, and to remind all of us that it is the most important part of living. I hope that you have a wonderful week, filled with beautiful reminders of love. I hope the stars shine brightly over you, and I hope that you are able to hear the wisdom of your heart, and to feel the devotion that your heart has had to you all along. Thank you!
Hello beautiful people and welcome to this dose of Celestial Goodness. As always, thank you for joining me in this space and on this journey. If you are reading the blog or watching the video this week, congratulations—you have made it over into a new year. This week’s video available here: https://youtu.be/HJzCMaZ97io
I was joking with one of my friends that there are many ways of marking a new year—and there are many cultures and groups that celebrate a different new year—the Lunar New Year for example—which will happen on January 22nd, marks the year of the Water Rabbit.
Our birthdays—the solar return, are also a beginning point. I turned 40 recently, so that was a new decade and it definitely felt like a new chapter of my life was beginning.
My friend and I jokingly devised a new year for each month this year hahaha, so if this one doesn’t work for you—make your own! All of that being said—today, January 1st is the day that most of the world celebrates a new year. Marked by different celebrations, fireworks, and fanfare, we have collectively created a ritual that sends out the old energy of the Gregorian calendar year, and that welcomes a new one.
Along with this comes many little rituals of sort that help us to ceremonially close out old energies in our personal lives and welcome a new energy. I thought about this for a few reasons. First, this was the first year in over six years that I was home for New Year’s Eve—I have celebrated the holiday in different locations, including in England last year.
This year it was nice to be in my space, having a very low key and chill evening. It was also the first New Year’s Eve in at least ten years that I was by myself. Some friends invited me out, but my spirit desired the alone time. I will speak at a different time about the benefits of solitude for the soul. You can be alone but not lonely. I have grown over the years to learn how to enjoy my own company, and in recent months, I have been relearning myself.
I also know that my family and friends are a literal phone call away should I start feeling in need of human companionship. I derive great joy from my relationships with others—and cultivating and devoting time to nurturing those relationships will continue to be an important part of 2023; there is also a strong need within myself to nurture my relationship with self. It is for that reason, I know that New Year’s Eve was its own kind of bliss.
I got fresh flowers from the market—while walking over there some rain drops evaded the umbrella—they felt cool on my skin and I remembered the quote attributed to Bob Marley—“some people feel the rain, and others get wet.” I felt the rain, and want to continue living life with the experience of feeling—of not being numb to things like sunrises, sunsets, and the coolness of raindrops. I also stopped for a bit to observe the fog rising up from the pond by my place. Fog always feels so mysterious, mystical, and otherworldly. When I got home from the market, I made myself dinner, listened to the rain, read snippets from several of my books, watered my plants, danced around, and listened to the Buena Vista Social Club.
At midnight, I had a small bit of Moscato d’Asti and I ate 12 green grapes. One grape to signify abundance, prosperity, peace, joy, and love for each month of the upcoming year. I forget where I learned that tradition, but it is a fun one if you have grapes handy! That leads to the second reason that I thought about personal rituals. I spent most of the day doing a deep cleaning of my place. I mean dusting the corners, scrubbing the shower curtains, mopping, dusting all the nooks and crannies… like deep deep cleaning…I probably looked like Cinderella, but there is absolutely no shame in my cleaning game.
When I was little, my mom always wanted everything to be immaculate. I use to mutter under my breath when I was woken up early on the weekends to clean, that as an adult I would do whatever I wanted lol, which didn’t include getting up on the weekends to clean. It also didn’t include deep cleaning before the new year. Turns out that was a lie. It is just hard for me to focus when things are chaotic—my home needs to breathe, to have things in their rightful place, to feel clean and smell good—it needs to be a sacred space for me. We tend to temples, and my home is that for me. It is a sanctuary away from the rest of the world. It is a safe place, a comfortable, peaceful and Zen place for anyone who crosses the mantle.
When I was little, Jamaicans made it seem as if the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve and things were out of place—the clothes weren’t washed, the dishes not put away, the trash all taken out, that was to be your fate for the rest of the year. It felt like oh my God, you were going to be living in filth for a whole year. I would seriously get anxiety about it. Anyway, that is not the case, but yesterday still felt cathartic. It wasn’t as if the place was messy to begin with, but there was something about ensuring that everything was in its place and I was throwing things out that made me feel as if I was ceremoniously saying good bye to 2022. After everything is clean, I also do a smoke cleanse with the windows and balcony door open, and then burn some of my favorite incense.
Good bye to old energies, and welcome to something new. I am curious about other rituals that people do to celebrate the end of an old year and to welcome in a new year. I know that some of my friends eat black eye peas, some people attend a church service, and some have to stay up until midnight to make sure that yes the old year is in fact gone. Some people go to bed at their normal time so that they can wake up feeling refreshed. I read online that in Scotland, the last day of the Gregorian calendar is called “Hogmanay.” It may be derived from Norse and Gaelic traditions, but it involves gift giving, visiting the homes of friends and family, and there is very special attention paid to the “first foot.” That is the first guest to step foot into your home in the new year. I never even thought of that, but I think it is cool. I will have to pay attention to remember who will be my “first foot,” for the year! What are some of your new year’s rituals or traditions?
The New Year’s Day also reminded me that a new energy is being ushered in—both astrologically and in terms of numerology. I will get into the astrology in a different video, but this year is a 7 year in numerology. 2+0+2+3=7. In numerology, a 7 year is one that emphasizes introspection, emotion, analysis, intuition, reflection, seclusion, research, and faith. It is also a year that finds most people deepening their spiritual practices and a year that leans towards creativity and mysticism. What that all sounds like is that some of us may feel a pull to turn inwardly during the year, and even though we spent most of the pandemic inside, this feels different. This feels more like tuning in to our inner voice—to hearing ourselves speak from a soul level, to tapping into our creativity, and to feel more connected with the divine whatever that means for you. I hope that however your year has started off that you feel a sense of peace—a sense of gratitude for what is gone and what has yet to come, and just a sense of knowing that you are loved and supported by life—even on the difficult days.
I saw a poem online which I loved. It says, “The old year is worn and tired. Time now to kiss it goodbye. Take with you its wisdom—the authority and the power of all you have learned. Remember the past year with love, but let go of its despair. Live the year that lies ahead with fresh energy and hope. Be strong, have courage. It is time now for something new.”
Before I end, I do want us to just take a moment—close your eyes if you can, and just take in a deep breath—it should be deep, but comfortable for you. I am going to lead us in a small meditation.
Put your hand over your heart space, and take in three deep but comfortable breaths. As you inhale and exhale, become aware of your breath. Feel a sense of gratitude for your body, which functions mostly on auto pilot. Be thankful for your heart which beats each day, and which also emits vibrations of love out to the world. Be thankful for your mind, which allows you to process so much information. Now I want you to visualize that you are standing by a bonfire. You are able to drop anything from 2022 and prior that may have caused you stress or grieve into the fire. From the ashes will spring a glorious phoenix that brings with it the promise of a transformative energy. Next, visualize a beautiful glass cup filled with crystal clear (and clean) water. You will take a drink from this cup. As the water fills you—as it is cool flowing through your body, you imagine that the new year will be filled with love, joy, prosperity, growth, and anything else that you desire that is in its proper divine timing, and for your overall benefit. You feel a sense of peace and purpose. You become aware of your breath again. Sit with that sensation of feeling your breath rising in your chest. Say thank you, and then open your eyes.
I hope that this year will unfold for you in the most delightful and beautiful ways, and I hope the stars continue to shine brightly over you! As always, thank you, and happy new year. ♥️
Hello beautiful people and welcome to this dose of Celestial Goodness. As always thank you for joining me in this space and on this journey. And what a journey it has been… today—the day that I am writing this blog post and filming this week’s video is my 40th birthday. See this week’s video here: https://youtu.be/oYV17TvBj68
A lot of people have asked me how I feel turning 40. To be honest, I don’t feel any different than I did yesterday when I was 39. I do however sense in the subtle and inner sanctuaries of my spirit that I am perhaps or would wish to be a tad bit wiser, healthier, more courageous and more devoted to bringing love and beauty into the world than ever before…or at least highlighting those things.
Two things also come to mind. Mary Oliver’s poem, “The Summer Day,” in which she says,
“Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?” That question has stayed on my mind since I heard it—what will I do with my one wild and precious life?
I also think of a beautiful piece by Oriah Mountain Dreamer:
“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, ‘Yes.’
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.”
These two pieces among countless others have been a guiding light over the past several years. Arriving at 40 is definitely different than when I arrived at 10, or 20, or even 30. There were different concerns, different aspirations, and different yearnings. I arrive at 40 and I feel like an actual adult. I feel that I have a good sense of who I am even though I am still learning more about myself each day. I do know that arriving at 40 lets me have a good range of life experience from which to draw, and so today I will share some of my favorite lessons.
1) Love is real and it is important. Give it, be it, and receive it, each and every day.
2) Gratitude is a deeply fundamental practice that enhances all that is beautiful about your life.
3) You are needed on this planet, and there are people that love you.
4) There will be people who don’t like you for whatever reason, and it is truly none of your business.
5) Friendships are vital. Be a good friend to have good friends.
6) When people show you who they are, listen…
7) Allow people to leave your life graciously…
8) Allow new people to come into your life. You have not yet met all the people who will add light, love, and joy to your life.
9) Travel if you can—near and far. The world and its people are beautiful, amazing, and spectacular.
10) There is more that connects us, than divides us. Dig deeper and you will see.
11) Genuinely care about the details that people share with you about their lives. Listen.
12) Have hobbies or interests or both. You do not need to monetize these if you do not desire, but truly it makes for a fun and interesting life.
13) Drink your water. I cannot stress this enough—it is the miracle drug.
14) Tend to your physical health. Shoutout to my trainer for showing me that slow and steady progress makes a big difference over time!
15) Tend to your mental health. The world will not fall apart while you take the space and time that you need for yourself…trust me on this.
16) Tend to your spiritual wellbeing. Whatever this means for you…
17) Spend time in nature.. the trees are amazing, and nature is beautiful, but there are also an abundance of wonderful life lessons.
18) Tend to your financial well-being. Life feels better when you have a solid foundation—a security net of your own building. Start small if you need. Read, “The Richest Man in Babylon.”
19) Pay your debts… be a Lanister.
20) Stand on your word and your promises.
21) Be honest.
22) Do not be afraid to have difficult conversations.
23) Set up healthy boundaries for your life.
24) Do a periodic review of the people that are in your life. How is the relationship? Do you feel safe—mentally, emotionally, and physically with these people?
25) Do something nice for yourself too…
26) Be of service in some way to the rest of humanity—small acts of kindness are important too!
27) Dance frequently.
28) Sing when you feel.
29) Sit sometimes without feeling the need to do anything productive.
30) Find your joy and hold it close.
31) Learn yourself—who are you—beneath your roles and your titles? Who are you really?
32) Laugh at least once a day. It is true what they say, a day without laughter is wasted.
33) Don’t neglect to see the magic in life—the magic all around us.
34) Tell people that you love them—in whatever is your love language. Do this often.
35) Give genuine compliments.
36) Believe that good things can happen for you…this takes time to cultivate for some, but life can be so miraculous when you do…
37) Write out your goals. Don’t be afraid to dream big.
38) Take the trip. Wear your nice clothes, perfume, and shoes. Use the things.
39) Cry if you need to. Sit with your grief, pain, shadow side… know it because without the darkness there is no light.
40) Be open… life is constant change, constant evolution, constant transformation. You got this.
Thank you for sharing in these lessons, and if you have any that you would like to share—drop them in the comments. I make wishes all the time, but birthday wishes feel extra special. I wish that as a world, as a connected people that we would live from a place of love rather than fear, that we see each other deeply, truly, and genuinely for who we are at our core, that we help one another, that we remind each other of our greatness and our beauty, that we have courage to face whatever comes, and wisdom to handle life with grace. I wish we all get what we need when we need it, and get what we want because our desires are real. I wish we all live in love. I am looking forward to this next chapter of life—to see the unfolding. I hope it is sweet, and that it delights me each day. May the stars shine brightly over you, and may you have a delightful week—until we meet again. Thank you!
Hello beautiful people and welcome to this dose of Celestial Goodness. As always, thank you for joining me in this space and on this journey. I hope you have all been doing well, and if not, I hope that things are getting better. See this week’s video here: https://youtu.be/emgqw1cc6wc
It has been five weeks since I joined you in this space, but the blog and channel were never far from my mind. As I wrote up what I wanted to speak about today, I have been sitting in what is a space of peace for me. My mom made the comment recently that I am living the things that I have shared in this space—I am taking my own advice if you will. I am drinking my water, resting, and minding my own business in my sacred space.
My home is indeed a sacred space for me—a safe sanctuary of peace, Zen, and tranquility. It is sort of like a chrysalis, allowing me room to evolve into the next version of myself. As I write this, incense and the scent of my favorite candles permeate the air. I have a cup of hot orange blossom and cinnamon tea, and I can look out through my window and see the rain and fog that comes with a traditional fall day. When I am home, chances are that ocean sounds are playing as background sound—the sound of water soothes my spirit. If not, I am playing music and singing and dancing around because I am silly and because dancing is amazing for the root chakra and the soul lol. I highly recommend this lol!
My plants are thriving, and teaching me important lessons about growth. Recently, a large number of leaves fell off my ivy plant, I panicked, I thought I had been doing everything right, but my plant advisors—the plant aunties–said it was fine—water it, just the right amount, and leave it alone. Recently I have noticed an abundance of tiny new leaves, green, vibrant, and fresh.
My plants have taught me that growth is also work—and each plant is different and needs a combination of certain elements to support their growth. Some love sunshine, some love to be left alone. Celeste, my coleus, which is now mammoth, loves water, light, and attention. When she has those things, she thrives. When she thrives, she is magnificent to behold. Humans are the same. What do you need for your growth?
So, growth has been a constant theme over the past few weeks, as is the topic of gratitude. The two things came together for me one day after a very long and glorious nap. Rest is one of the things that I have needed the most in recent weeks. Once the sun goes down, I too feel like hibernating.
At first I felt guilty because I like to be “doing something,” but I would tell any of my friends that rest is as much a part of the process as is taking action. Since I am my own friend, I am taking my own advice. There are seasons for a reason. My own season said, “go softly…sleep…it will all get done.” This has helped my mind to feel clear, and to see how I am growing in gratitude.
As I said before, it has been about five weeks since I made a post, and most of that time was during the eclipse season. I would be lying if I said that the eclipse season was gentle on me—it wasn’t, but it had its moments of reprieve. I will also say that I didn’t expect it to be gentle—having read the astrology, I knew that there was room for some deeply transformative facing off with myself. Questions like how do I show up for myself? Questions surrounding my fears, abandonment issues, and some other often taboo topics crept in heavy. All of this required deep internal excavation. That kind of heavy lifting requires deep rest, and it was a season for me of deep rest, deep internal transformation, and reflection, grief, and gratitude.
I include grief here because when we lose anything, even and especially an older version or part of ourselves, it also feels like a death of sorts, and we are allowed to grief what once was. We should grieve the things that need grieving well so that the energy does not internalize itself and manifest itself in ways we do not desire. After the night, we can always be assured of dawn, and recently I could feel myself emerging from my chrysalis. When we do the deeper work to get to know ourselves, it does pay itself off in feeling lighter, freer, and more confident that we have all that we need to face the unknowns of life.
As I was writing this, I got a call from one of my dearest friends. She is all the way across the Atlantic Ocean, and she called to read to me from a card that I wrote to her in 2017.
The card spoke of growth. It spoke of reflecting on my journey from a little girl in rural Jamaica to someone who has had access to the spaces and places that I do in my day to day life. There are no coincidences, and I shed a tear as I told her how much this meant to me. I do feel like our friends can sense when we need a reminder too—and I am grateful for my friends who have always gone above and beyond in showing me love. I am at a similar place in my life to where I was when I wrote that card, but I can see the growth, and for that I am thankful.
That being said, the last few weeks was also a beautiful time for me. I traveled with my mom to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for the wedding of one of my dearest friends. I could not miss it, and I am so delighted that mommy got to come with me. We rested, ate well, splashed around in the sea, danced, laughed, and explored the area. I got to spend some much needed one on one time with my mom, and the time we spent together are moments that I will treasure forever.
Two highlights were visiting the Botanical Gardens. I love gardens as it is, and this one was truly top tier. It even had a river running through, and an amazing restaurant with probably the best Mexican food that I have ever eaten. It also had an abundance of beautiful birds and butterflies—including hummingbirds which I love.
The other highlight was visiting the Magical Butterfly Garden Sanctuary. Getting there was an adventure, but it was well worth it. We learned so much about the life of butterflies and moths, and I felt some resonance to the notion of transformation. It is a delicate but beautiful process.
I also learned about the Green Malachite butterfly which is not my second favorite next to the Blue Morpho. I think the biggest takeaway for me was that growth does not always come without its obstacles, but we must certainly appreciate the journey to get where we are today. We have to celebrate what it has taken to get to this place and phase of our lives. We started somewhere—like the egg that became a caterpillar. Did you also know that a caterpillar eats its body—that sounds weird, but when it is ready to shed, it basically eats the exoskeleton. When it is in its chrysalis, it has eaten everything it needs to survive that journey. Nothing is wasted with butterflies.
In similar fashion, nothing that we have gone through in our lives is wasted—it is just that we can’t always see that. Hindsight really is 20/20. Soren Kierkegaard said, “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.” So keep moving forward, but let the lessons from the past propel you along your journey. All of this is to say that as I have been reflecting, I have been immensely thankful—filled with a deep reverence for life, filled with gratitude for the ways in which I can see my own growth. Maybe I handle certain situations differently, maybe certain things don’t bother me like they used to, maybe I am more patient, maybe I can approach something and someone from a more loving and compassionate place. Maybe I can understand something in a different way, a way that helps things pan out more peacefully.
We can also look at growth in terms of where we are. Once upon a time, I was a student in many ways, and there are a lot of things that I can share now as a teacher. That does not mean I am no longer a student, life is always teaching us, and teachers are always appearing, but it does mean that I can appreciate my own life experiences, and say wow, thank you life for getting me to this place. As I am rolling up soon on a new decade of life, I am eternally thankful for the people, places, and experiences that have helped to shape me. These are the elements that have watered me, given me light or shade, and that have helped me to grow.
I hope that you will take a moment to reflect on where you have been, the journey so far, and to celebrate the victories and the defeats, because both have been instrumental to your growth. In one of my favorite books, the Warrior of Light by Paulo Coelho, he says, “The Warrior of Light is a believer. Because he believes in miracles, miracles begin to happen. Because he is sure that his thoughts can change his life, his life begins to change. Because he is certain that he will find love, love appears. Now and then he is disappointed. Sometimes he gets hurt. Then he hears people say: “He is so ingenious!” But the warrior knows that it is worth it. For every defeat, he has two victories in his favor. All believers know this.”
I hope the stars shine brightly over your week, and I hope it is a beautiful week, filled with opportunities for you to see your growth and to see how miraculous life can be.
Hello beautiful people and welcome to this dose of Celestial Goodness. As always, thank you for joining me in this space and on this journey. I appreciate your time and presence—whenever or wherever you are watching from. In our last episode, the Divine Woo joined us to talk about the Tarot, and the fool’s journey. This was timely since we are in the midst of some major cosmic happenings that portend major endings and beginnings. See this week’s video here: https://youtu.be/awr4h-h1yB4
I made a previous video/blog on eclipses so check that out. These eclipses are very deep—happening in the signs of Scorpio and Taurus, and for some of us they might stir a little bit of anxiety. Scorpio especially carries a deep energetic signature of letting go, of death, and ultimately of rebirth.
It is a sign firmly planted in the fall, while Taurus is in the spring. We know that whatever is dying in our lives, whatever we are letting go of, is creating room for something new to present itself, or for a divine rebirth. And yet, so much has already happened, we just want reprieve now. I have personally felt the purging from my life, and even with a knowledge of the cycles, and good coping mechanisms, it can be a lot—it has been a lot. Also, to be clear—the planets and the cosmos don’t make anything happen, and everyone has free will, but the influence can be felt very strongly, and that can impact decisions, actions, and how we feel energetically. It is also worth noting here that different cosmic happenings impact and influence people in different ways. We don’t all feel these things in the same way, but we all experience transits that can impact our lives at certain times more strongly than at other moments.
It is for these reasons that the topic of soothing oneself has come up several times for me in the past few weeks. I initially intended to make this blog and video earlier, but the timing was not right. It has also become increasingly important for me to prioritize rest and my own self-care. This has manifested itself in actual sleep, taking time from being “productive,” honoring what my body needs, and holding space for myself.
I do hold space for other people, and I do believe that is one of the duties that we have as human beings—how we show up for each other is important. Healthy boundaries are also important, but at least for me, I appreciate the connections that I have with other humans. I don’t ever want my friends to apologize either if they come with their tears, or heavy emotion, because friendship and love is about so much more than unicorns and sunshine—and everyone knows that unicorns and sunshine is my jam.
But being a human means being our full and complex selves, and processing the full range of everything that we feel. In the last several weeks, I have had plenty of cries—my body has literally purged pent up emotion—sadness, grief, fatigue, disappointment, and even fear of the unknown. My closest friends and family members have held space for me to express what I am feeling—they don’t even always need to know all the details, but they remind me of some truths.
They have also helped me to soothe myself when things feel particularly overwhelming, but importantly, I have been reminded how to soothe myself when no one is available to help with that. This is also important because sometimes the people we care about don’t have the bandwidth to hold space for us. They might also be dealing with heavy things, or just don’t have the time. Sometimes we are all we have. I have learned more and more over the years why our relationship with ourself is so important. It is because when there is no one else around, we still have ourselves.
We have to get to know who we are at our core, because ultimately we will be with ourselves all day, every day for the rest of our lives. Do you like the person that you are? Do you know who you are? Befriending yourself is probably the first part of being able to soothe yourself. How do you talk to yourself? I have been hard on me at times, feeling foolish for something that I did or said, or even for things I did not do, and yet, I, like most people have been doing the best that I can under the circumstances. Offer yourself some compassion and some grace. Speak to yourself in the same way that you would to a beloved friend or relative. Thank your body for everything that it does for you—thank it for being the physical vessel for your soul—treat it as though it deserves your love.
So speaking with someone that you love and trust is a soothing mechanism, and that does include conversations with yourself.
Some other mechanisms are:
· Actual meditation. This can be difficult if you are feeling anxious, but sometimes listening to a meditation without trying to engage with it can be a helpful first step. I have some meditations saved that are so soothing, that even listening to them can help me to settle my spirit, and even fall asleep.
· Journaling. I am not great at journaling, but it is such a useful act. I endeavor to get better at this because it is also a good way at looking back on your progress. When you can see how far you have come, that can be helpful in reminding yourself that you are doing better than you give yourself credit for. I mentioned to someone the other day that the things that use to stress you out two years ago are not the things stressing you out today. So we need to remember that sometimes because we are able to make it through crazy times—and into new situations that help with our personal evolution!
· Exercise. This helps to create serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins that help us to feel better. Whenever I am having a difficult moment, one of my favorite cousin’s says to me, “Did you or can you take a walk?” Even a short ten or fifteen minute walk can be helpful! I will also make a plug here for boxing and other exercises that you may not have considered. My trainer is teaching me boxing. Not only have I found it to be very effective in helping to strengthen my body, but I always feel exhilaration after my session. It is different, but it is helpful for releasing pent up emotions as well.
· Rest. In the famous poem Desiderata, one section that always sticks with me says, “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.” Yes, fatigue, exhaustion, and tiredness can create anxiety. Sometimes you do need the nap, or just a good night’s sleep.
· A warm or hot shower. Water soothes me, and so it is always one of my go to tools. I also have eucalyptus bundles hanging in my shower, and beyond it feeling like a spa, it also helps to soothe my spirit. It’s my emotional support eucalyptus bundle if you will. Eucalyptus is known for its calming properties. Lavender, rose oil, and other essential oils can also be added to bath water, or your soap for a similar aromatic experience.
· Drink some tea. I love coffee, but nothing soothes my soul like a cup of hot tea. I have many tea variations for an assortment of moods and moments. Some good options are: ginger, mint, spearmint, chamomile, cinnamon and orange, and raspberry.
· And of course there is also the option of soothing yourself with breathing. We will go through a small example of this now. I want you to close your eyes. Take in a deep but comfortable breath. Become aware that you are breathing, and feel the warmness of your breath as you inhale and exhale. As you inhale, slow and deep, just say to yourself, I am inhaling peace, and calm. I am inhaling love and compassion. How does that make your body feel? Are you softening? As you exhale, ask your body to release any stress, and any anxiety that you are feeling. Feel the tension in your body dissipate as you remind yourself that as long as you are breathing, that you have the ability to feel peace, happiness, and joy. As long as you are breathing, life can go well. If you are so inclined, put your hand over your heart, and feel the movement of your body as you breath. Thank your heart, and thank your body for everything they are doing for you. How does that feel? This is one of the best mechanisms that I have for soothing myself when things feel off kilter. You can also do this exercise with someone—if you have a trusted person, they can walk you through the breathing exercise.
All of this is just to help sooth us when things feel crazy. As Prince used to say, “Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life.”
I don’t know the future, or what the next days or weeks will bring. The last few months have taught me not to take anything or anyone for granted because we never know when life will shift.
We never know if that moment was our last to tell someone that we cared, or whether it was the last time that we would get to experience doing something that we cared about. So many of us are also dealing with the repercussions of life events, and things that have been outside of our control. There is so little that we do control, but there are ways in which we can face the unknowns of life with poise and with grace. Whatever comes, may you feel empowered enough to know that you can face it head on.
May these soothing mechanisms come in handy, may you remember that you are a human being who is doing your best each day, and that looks different on different days, and may the stars shine brightly over your week. May it be a beautiful one indeed, and may things unfold in the most beautiful ways for you.
Hello beautiful people and welcome to this dose of Celestial Goodness. As always, thank you for joining me in this space and on this journey. This week, we have a very special guest—not only did she guest author most of this week’s blog, but I got to interview her for this week’s video. See this week’s video here: https://youtu.be/NKZhpCHklCo
Please join me in welcoming to the sacred space that is Celestial Goodness—the Divine Woo, also known as one of my favorite people, Desiree! (Desi)
We will start off with what Desi calls “The Fool’s Journey: The What and the Why of Tarot.”
When Desi asked me for the opportunity to be a guest blogger on Celestial Goodness, I knew right away what I wanted her to talk about…The Tarot.
Q: Why is that Desi? Why would I want you to talk about this topic out of all the things that you know a lot about?
A: Tarot is one of my biggest passions, and when I decided that I wanted to read Tarot professionally, you (Heather) were my primary advocate, even more so than myself. I was scared. You pushed and supported me. As such, I have been reading Tarot professionally for several years. I have had some fantastic moments during my readings and one or two scary moments as well. Overall, it has been a great learning experience, and something fun for me to do that I am also passionate about.
Q: You started this discussion by sharing how you were initially scared to start readings professionally. Is there a reason that you begin with that story?
A: Yes, what better way to start the discussion about Tarot than to talk about the beginnings of my own tarot journey because the first card of the Rider–Waite–Smith Tarot deck (one of the most known decks) is the Fool Card. This is traditionally the first card of the Major Arcana cards. The very meaning of this card is starting a new journey. So in telling you about how I began my journey of reading Tarot professionally, you can see a parallel in the Fool’s journey and in my journey.
Q: That sounds good. How did you get into Tarot?
A: How did I get into Tarot? Years ago, I found a deck that I thought was interesting. So, I purchased it and I started trying to use it. I didn’t know what the deck was called at the time, but I enjoyed trying to remember what the cards meant and I enjoyed learning how to use the deck. Well, that deck turned out to be a Lenormand deck. That is a different divination system than Tarot. One day, I decided that divination was evil and would lead you down the path of sin, so I stopped using the deck and put it away.
Q: What brought you back to Tarot?
A: Years later, after my spiritual path changed, I no longer believed that divination was evil. So, I started having tarot readings done for me. I really enjoyed the accuracy and timeliness of my readings. I decided I wanted to see if I could do tarot readings for myself. So I purchased a basic Rider-Waite-Smith deck from Barnes and Nobles. From the purchase of that deck, I was hooked. I also found out what buying and reading tarot cards actually leads you. It doesn’t lead to evil, it leads you to buying more tarot decks.
Q: So share with us a brief history of tarot cards.
A: Tarot history traces back to playing cards that were used in Europe in the 1400s. The first “tarot” decks were commissioned and hand-painted by artisans to the specifications of their patrons.
The earliest tarot cards used for divination purposes (or cartomancy) have been traced back to 1780 in Paris. This is the Tarot of Marseilles, which was abandoned for the Tarot Nouveau around 1900. I primarily use the decks based on the Rider-Waite-Smith deck which was published in 1909.
Q: Tell us more about the Rider-Waite-Smith deck.
A: The Rider-Waite-Smith deck consists of 78 cards: The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards; The Minor Arcana makes up the remaining 56 Cards. The Minor Arcana cards similar to playing cards, are broken down into 4 suites: Pentacles, Cups, Wands, and Swords. Each of these suites consists of court cards, King, Queen, Knight, and Page, there are 16 total court cards, and then there are 40 numbered cards—ten per suit. This also includes the 4 Aces which are also very important to a reading.
Q: Introduce us to the Major Arcana. These are some of my favorite cards—and depending on the deck, the artwork for all the cards is usually amazing.
A: The Major Arcana cards are the energies that you have to deal with for your soul’s growth. These are major life events that will move you towards a higher spiritual connection. In contrast, the Minor Arcana cards represent a more day-to-day energy for experiences that you may have to deal with in your life.
Q: So let’s do a deeper dive into the Major Arcana cards. You are going to walk us through the storyline of the Major Arcana, and the fool’s journey through the Major Arcana. You will provide brief explanations of the cards and how they relate to the journey.
A: Yes, the Major Arcana cards start off with the Fool card. This is card 0. As the Fool begins his journey, he meets several people: Card #1. The Magician (the master of all the elements) 2. The High Priestess (who represents deep internal divine wisdom) 3. The Empress (the great mother – the divine feminine), 4. The Emperor (the great father – the divine masculine) and 5. The Hierophant (the Teacher).
Q: So all of those represent a person. Do you think they are representative of who the fools evolves into?
A: I think these are people he interacts with more so than who he evolves into.
Q: Please continue.
A: Next, he meets 6. The Lovers (representing love, lovers, or perfect harmony), and they take him to 7. The Chariot, where he has to make a choice and use his 8. Strength to follow through with his choice. As he moves forward, he meets 9. The Hermit (who represents time alone for cultivating wisdom); the Hermit who just wants to be left alone, directs the fool to 10. The Wheel of Fortune.
After spinning the wheel, the Fool must meet with 11. Justice before he can move forward. Justice (Karma) has determined whether the Fool has any debts to fulfill before he can move forward. The Fool runs away, but Justice follows. The Fool runs right into 12. The Hanged Man. The Fool looks to Justice fearfully. Justice explains that The Hanged Man wants a different perspective on 13. Death. The Fool realizes that death is standing nearby. The Fool takes off running again, but not from Justice; this time, he is running from Death.
Q: The death card is one that terrifies a lot of people, right? But it often doesn’t mean a physical death, sometimes it is representative of a symbolic death or an ending?
A: Yes, that is correct. And sometimes it does mean death—that is also a reality.
As the The Fool runs away from death, he trips at the feet of 14. Temperance. “Why do you run Fool?” Temperance asks this question? I saw Death, and I’m not ready to meet him. Temperance asks, “would you prefer to meet him?” and points to Card 15.,The Devil.
In this card, the Devil tempts a couple who have accepted his enticements, and the Fool watch’s as 16. The Tower on which they stand begins to crumble around them, throwing them to the ground.
Q: The Tower is one of the most powerful cards in the Major Arcana, right? It definitely indicates a major change. The traditional artwork also shows an implication of choice.
A: Yes, it does. As the Fool runs from the destruction, he does not notice that it is now night. 17. The Star has come out, and the sky is full of pinpricks of light. The Fool finds soft grass near a softly flowing stream, and falls asleep under the light of the 18. Moon. The moonlight is pale and beautiful, but the Fool is awoken from his slumber when he hears the howling of a dog and what sounds like a wolf. They represent the domesticated animal and the wild nature of humanity. A lobster crawls out of the stream’s water and snaps at the Fool. Waking up abruptly, the Fool realizes that the lobster, the dog, and the wolf were just a dream.
As he awakens, he sees Card 19. The Sun rising in the East. As the Fool looks to the sky, he hears the most beautiful-sounding horn in the West. An Angel is also descending from Heaven; the Angel has come to awaken the dead, and as they rise, they move towards the Angel. This is the image of the 20 card–Judgement. The Angel tells the Fool that this music is not for him; it is not his time. He who is not dead must keep moving on—keep moving forward.
Q: And we are almost at the end of this journey.
A: Indeed, as the fool turns and walks away from Judgment, he contemplates all that he has seen. He soon realizes the area he was in is starting to look familiar. The Fool then sees 21. The World. The World is at end of the path. Moving past The World, the Fool realizes he has made a complete journey. But as he looks back, then forward again, he realizes that the journey he had just completed was just the end of one journey and the beginning of a new one. He squares his shoulders and moves onto the path of his next journey.
Q: Wow, tell us now about the Minor Arcana
A: The Minor Arcana cards consist of four suits representing different aspects of daily life, and also different elements.
Pentacles: The Pentacles represent the element of Earth which corresponds to the material things of life. This includes the acquiring of things, finance, working for things, sharing, hoarding, and enjoying material possessions.
Swords: The Sword suit represents the element of air, which refers to ideas, thoughts, communication, and the initiation of action.
Wands: The Wand suit represents the element of fire, which corresponds with action, imagination, creativity, passion, and intuition.
Cups: The Cup suit represents the element of water which corresponds with emotions, love, feelings, and relationships.
Each suit consist of the Court cards, and the number cards, Ace – Ten of the suits. The Court Cards are the Page, the Knight, the Queen, and the King. These often represent a person in our life, or it can represent us as well.
Each non-court card of the Minor Arcana has a number on it. These numbers have a numerical means called Correspondence. Note that correspondence can depend on how you are trained. So what is listed next is just a small example of the correspondence for the numbered cards.
Nine: Defensiveness, Satisfaction, worry, or guilt
Ten: Endings, Overextending, joy
Q: Oh wow, tell us about spreads.
A: Yes, because you are probably like, what the heck does all this have to do with reading Tarot. How does this help me read the Cards… OK, OK… This is a very important concept to understand before you start reading.
A spread is the laying out of the cards so that the reader can “read,” and interpret the cards. There are so many Tarot spreads that there are books written on the topic. You could draw one card to answer a yes or no question. You can use a Three card spread, which can be broken down into: past, present, future. It can also be what you want, what you need, will you get what you want; Alternatively, it can represent, Mind, body, spirit; etc.
You can use a Four card spread which can be broken down into: Question, pros, cons, advice, or even potential, fears, hopes, and outcome.
Then you have multiple card spreads or spreads for specific times of the year. Some examples are spreads for the new moon, spreads for the full moon, spreads for the New Year, and so forth. One of the best-known multiple-card spreads is the Celtic cross.
The Celtic Cross Spread consists of 10 cards placed in the following position.
Each position in the Celtic Cross spread has a specific meaning, and each card added to the spread leads you to the outcome of the overall message.
Position 1: Represents you
Position 2: What crosses you or potential challenges?
Position 3: What to focus on?
Position 4: Near future?
Position 5: Possible outcomes?
Position 6: Recent past?
Position 7: Your attitude about the situation?
Position 8: What influences you?
Position 9: Your Hopes and Fears?
Position 10: Overall outcome.
Q: That can be a lot, so how does one actually read the tarot cards?
A: Well, I should mention that Tarot cards can be read upright only (as I do), or you can read the upright cards and the reversal cards. A reversal card comes out upside down, and the meaning is generally a reverse of the upright meaning.
As you can tell from what we have already spoken about, each card has a specific meaning.
When I do a reading, I start by asking the person if they have a particular question. If so, I ask them to hold the question in their mind. After that, I shuffle the cards, I lay the cards out, and then we discuss what I see and feel from the cards. We also discuss the position of the cards.
I read tarot cards as their general meanings are given, but I also read them intuitively. Over the years, I have read, researched, and studied the meanings of each card, but I also use my intuition to amplify the reading.
Q: So what would you say that you are actually doing?
A: What am I actually doing? Reading Tarot is not reading the future; it is reading the energy around the situation or the question being asked by the person being read for. Am I predicting the future? No, I’m interpreting what the results will be as of this moment in time. Also, I’m interpreting what could happen if the querent continues on the current path.
There is much more to reading Tarot than I can put into these few pages. Tarot cards have planetary (astrology) correspondences, Chakra correspondence, and much more. We didn’t even get into Oracle cards, which I sometimes pair with tarot cards in my readings.
Q: I know it is a big topic, and I appreciate all the information that you have given to us today.
A: Yes, I hope I’ve given you an exciting view of what Tarot is and isn’t and how it can be used to see where you stand in the here and now.
Q: If someone wants to get in touch with you, what is the best way to do so?
And there you have it everyone, a glimpse into the life of a professional tarot reader. Thank you so much to the Divine Woo for being here with us, and sharing her knowledge. It is a huge topic, and if you are interested, consider getting a reading, or consider getting a deck and familiarizing yourself with it. The artwork within the decks also contain a lot of symbolism and meaning, and there are also themed decks.
I think this conversation highlights an important point. Life is a constant journey filled with endings and beginnings—however we have tools and resources to help us. Also, if you were waiting for a sign to begin something that you are interested in, just do it.
You got this. May the stars shine brightly over your week, and may it be a beautiful week indeed.